The Road to Atlanta

Article excerpt

World Congress Vision Becomes Clear as Leaders Shape Program

The road to Atlanta is paved with ... cooperation, enthusiasm, and commitment. As the old year, century, and such prepared to turn, the advisory/steering committee of the World Congress & Exposition on Disabilities (WCD) met for the first time. WCD, set to take place November 10 to 12 at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta, has a unique, multifaceted orientation: uniting personal, family, and professional concerns and information in one conference on disabilities. It promises to combine the educational aspects of an international professional conference, the advocacy and "how to" of a families forum, and the in-depth product and service information of a trade exhibition.

Working together

The 19-member advisory/steering committee--including physicians, parents, educators, association leaders, advocates, and government office representatives--reflects WCD's unified approach. Its goal is a three-track agenda compatible with the educational interests of individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers, and both the educators and healthcare professionals who work with them.

During the day-long meeting to hammer out both approach and detail, physicians, opinion leaders, special education professionals, and caregivers worked hand-in-hand to create a uniquely powerful education event with topics relevant to each other, yet positioned to offer value to each group. Professionals in the room listened attentively to parents, advocates to policy makers, caregivers to practitioners. They not only agreed on the importance of others' points and perspectives, but also bought into their inclusion as critical agenda items.

Joe Valenzano--Conference Director and CEO, President and Publisher of Exceptional Parent magazine--delighted in the committee's first efforts. …