Every child has dreams and every parent wants to help them come true – and parents of children who are different (but not less) are no different. Only thing is, we need to be looking at options and working together to create some where none exist.
That’s why the national FRED conference is so important. Meeting other like-minded people to create a future worth dreaming about is empowering. And it is never too early to start. Last year, Jeremy contributed on a panel and this year it’s my turn. There will be panels on housing models, employment, safety and well-being, and self-care (for the parents – we need to take care of ourselves, too!)
FRED 2014 is taking place Friday March 28 and Saturday March 29, at the LAX Marriott in Los Angeles. For more information about the experts (including many self-advocates) donating their time wisdom, experience and hope, visit www.FREDconference.org. I’m counting on seeing you there!
Meanwhile, enjoy this announcement from FRED about this year’s FRED Pioneer Award Winner, Kevin McGuire.
AbleRoad Founder and Disability Rights Leader Named as FRED Pioneer Award Winner
Manhattan Beach, Calif. — February 27, 2014 — Today the FRED Conference announced that Kevin McGuire is the 2014 recipient of the FRED Pioneer Award. This award is given to the individual or organization that best embodies innovation and advancement in the field of disability rights.
The FRED nomination committee selected Kevin McGuire in recognition of his pioneering work launching AbleRoad, the most comprehensive website and app designed to connect people with accessible places, and for his lifelong impact in the disabilities field. Kevin McGuire will receive the award in Los Angeles on March 28th when he serves as the FRED Conference keynote speaker.
“We are very proud to have Kevin McGuire as this year’s winner. He is a role model for so many in the disability community, both personally and professionally”, said FRED Director Mari-Anne Kehler. “Kevin has led by example to show that disabilities are not limitations, and that with vision and hard work anyone can succeed, and exceed, in life. He is a real visionary and true pioneer.”
AbleRoad is a website and a smartphone app that allows users to review any public space – from restaurants and theaters to parks, hospitals and concert venues – and rate it for how well it accommodates people with disabilities or those with medical conditions. Users can upload photos and leave detailed reviews for others to read, allowing people with disabilities, their friends and caregivers to research whether a certain business or place is accessible, and to choose the places they want to patronize. AbleRoad also helps businesses understand the challenges their location may pose to those who use a wheelchair or have other mobility, vision, hearing or cognitive disabilities, and persuade them to make changes to improve their accessibility.
McGuire is also CEO and Founder of McGuire Associates, Inc., the nation’s leading consulting firm specializing in compliance with disability laws. His clients include high profile venues such as the Staples Center and Gillette Stadium. He has produced an ADA customer service training video for frontline employees, and a training video on how to evacuate people with disabilities from buildings during emergencies, which have been sold worldwide. He has used a wheelchair since age 7, when an intoxicated driver struck him. He has recently written a novel, PATRICK, based on his experiences growing up as a wheelchair user.
This is the second annual FRED Pioneer Award. Last year’s recipient was Pegi Young, who along with her husband, rocker Neil Young, founded The Bridge School for students with disabilities.
About FRED Conference: FRED is the premier organization to galvanize leaders focused to advance and enhance the futures of adults with disabilities. FRED is dedicated to the idea that all individuals deserve to live their passions, and determine their choice of the future they live. FRED brings top thinkers: experts, families, and self-advocates, together to share leading practices and accelerate approaches to building those futures. www.FREDconference.org