Marietta College professor to speak at disability conference

Dr. William Bauer, an assistant professor of education at Marietta College, has been chosen to speak at the 2005 Multiple Perspectives on Access, Inclusion and Disability Conference, April 12-13.

Bauer’s topic is “Same World, Different Difference: Life of People with Disabilities in Appalachian America.” The conference is held at the Pfahl Executive Education and Conference Center on The Ohio State University campus in Columbus.

“I was asked by the director of the conference to speak about the unique challenges people with disabilities face when living in rural America,” Bauer said. “This is a national conference for people with disabilities.”

The 90-minute program will look at the unique characteristics of Appalachian America, and the concerns that consumers with disabilities have in gaining access to services. Bauer said Americans who live in Appalachia experience unique and different ways of life than most Americans.

The Appalachia region is defined as the bottom half of New York through the mountains of West Virginia and southeast Ohio to the flatlands of Alabama. This area of the country offers different perspectives and challenges to life.

Because of the geographical vastness and uniqueness of the Appalachian culture, many people with disabilities who live there are unable to access services and agencies due to physical and attitudinal barriers. The combination of being a person with a disability and belonging to a minority group, such as living in rural Appalachia, produces a double bias in adjusting to every day activities. Living in rural Appalachia has its minority features by virtue of geography, unemployment rates, lack of medical services and limited economic growth.