BTC sets ‘Disability Etiquette’ talk

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Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin Kristin Larson (center) is pictured with her mother and grandmother before the dinner and crowing at the Ms. Wheelchair America pageant in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

“Disability Etiquette” is the topic of a presentation by Kristin Larson to be given on Friday, Jan. 27, at 1p.m. in the North Commons (Room 1400B) on the Janesville Central Campus of Blackhawk Technical College.

This presentation is for anyone — with or without a disability — who wants to interact more effectively with people with disabilities. You don’t have to feel awkward when interacting  with a person who has a disability. When speaking to people with disabilities, it is important to put the person first — to focus on the person, not the disability. This presentation will cover the basics — terminology tips for a variety of disabilities, workplace  and classroom etiquette, accommodations, communication, personal space needs and more. There will be a question and answer session following the presentation.

 At 17, Kristin Larson was diagnosed with the chronic illness Lupus with a secondary complication of Transverse Myelitis, which paralyzed her at the T12 vertebrae. Determined to overcome new life challenges, she graduated from high school and continued her education, graduating from college.

Drawing on her lifelong passion to help others, Kristin began working at Mercy Health System as Foundation Coordinator. Today, she organizes large fundraisers to  benefit community programs that include the House of Mercy homeless center and Mercy Hospice Care. Since her diagnosis, Kristin has coordinated efforts to raise over $800,000 for non-profit funds.

She is an active volunteer and legislative advocate for the  Lupus Foundation of America, writing letters of need to Congress to bring awareness and support of medical research for individuals living with the disabling illness Lupus. Known for her optimism, Kristin believes determination, a positive attitude  and giving back can help you find your true calling.

 In 2011, Kristin was given the title of Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin 2011. The Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin pageant is a program of achievement, advocacy, opportunity and empowerment for women who happen to use  wheelchairs. Kristin’s platform of advocacy is “Awareness and support of medical research for individuals living with disabilities due to a chronic illness.” Her goal is to improve the quality of life, through education, for those that are disabled.

This free public event is sponsored by the Diversity Advancement Committee of Blackhawk Technical College. For more information, contact Diane Murphy at (608) 743-4422 or dmurphy@blackhawk.edu

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