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Experts, Advocates Tackle Challenges of Autism, Architecture
Date:7/11/2008

READING, Pa., July 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Experts in a variety of professions gathered today to address the challenges of providing quality education to children with autism and designing accessible public spaces for people with disabilities.

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, or PHRC, hosted two informational forums during the World Congress on Disabilities Expo being held today and Saturday in the Reading Expo Center.

"Architecture and education may not seem to have anything in common," PHRC Chairman Stephen A. Glassman said, "but both can be incredibly difficult to navigate for people with physical or developmental disabilities. Today's aim was to bring the collective expertise of professionals in law, education, architecture and disability advocacy to bear on the challenges of removing barriers to education and public spaces."

An all-day session, "Exploring Assessment and Educational Intervention for Students with Autism Spectrum and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders," included presentations by Dr. Lee Ann Grisolano, Ph.D., pediatric neuropsychologist, and the Hon. Judge Michelle Coleman, educational advocate and parent of special needs children.

"Governor Rendell's signing of HB 1150 into law this week has made insurance coverage and treatment for children and young adults with autism spectrum disorder more accessible," Glassman said. "The information provided by our experts today will help improve their access to education.

"At the same time, we are working to improve access to public spaces for people with all sorts of physical disabilities by educating architects on accessible design," Glassman said. "People with disabilities have a legal right to enjoy access to facilities and services, just as do their peers who may not face the same physical challenges in their everyday lives."

The second PHRC-hosted session was a panel discussion titled, "Bridging the Gap between Advocates and Architects," with Rocco Iacullo, of the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania, Susan Tusick of Tusick & Associates Architects Inc., and representatives of PHRC, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development -- the state and federal agencies enforcing accessibility and anti-discrimination laws.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission enforces the Pennsylvania laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, disability and familial status. The commission's jurisdiction extends to employment, housing, commercial property, public accommodation, education and the monitoring of community tension situations. Find us online at http://www.phrc.state.pa.us.

CONTACT: Shannon Powers

(717) 783-8266

(717) 418-9816 (cell)


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission
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