a speaker at the ADA celebrationWith over 300 attendees from across Maryland, Intersect, the celebration of the American’s with Disabilities Act 26th anniversary, exceeded expectations as a day for community learning and idea sharing for the residents of our state. The technology fair exhibitors showcased the innovative opportunities currently available for those with disabilities and their families right here in Maryland.   We saw the power of 3D printing; the use of technology for artistic self expression; and the impact of assistive technology on communication parity.

We heard from state leaders during the Intersect program pushing Maryland forward as a leader in universally designed technology.  Haben Girma, the keynote speaker, challenged us all to consider accessibility at every step of innovation allowing differing needs to drive creativity and lasting change.  During lunch, Marian Vessels reminded us how far we have come as a community and to never stop evolving as we continue to break down both physical and virtual barriers for the disability community.  Our day ended with a free community workshop brought to us by the Maryland Technology Assistance Program (MDTAP).  Lori Markland, Director of Communications for MDTAP, provided tips and advice to ensure social media is an accessible communication tool for all users.

The Maryland Department of Disabilities wishes to thank the speakers, attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors who made this day possible.  Thank you to the National Federation of the Blind for hosting the event and providing tours of their International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind.  We are grateful to Governor Hogan for his support and Lieutenant Governor Rutherford for attending and presenting the Governor’s Proclamation in honor of the anniversary.woman and man shaking hands over a laptop computer
If you were not able to join us or would like further information on the event, there are many ways to access materials from the celebration or learn more. See our captioned photo album on Facebook HERE .  You can still share your thoughts and photos from the day with the hashtag #ADA26MD on social media.  To continue to follow Haben Girma, see her website HERE.  A full text transcript from the event along with the text agenda and social media accessibility PowerPoint presentation can be found on our event webpage before next week HERE.