The annual LIFE Conference is a joint effort of many Delaware organizations that support person with disabilities and their families.
In 2023, The Arc of Delaware was a silver sponsor of this event, held virtually on January 18-19.
With a focus on issues regarding legislation, independence, families and education, the conference offered attendees an opportunity to learn, network and share information with policy makers and the general public.
Some highlights included Executive Director Susannah Eaton-Ryan’s participation in the lunchtime roundtable, where sponsors could address questions related to advocacy, assistive technology, education, employment, legal & financial services, healthcare, home & community-based services, and mental health & well-being.
Another session on connecting people with assistive technology described not only the gap in supply vs. demand but also how technology in home modifications can remove some barriers in areas of daily living, such as access, communication and entertainment.
An interactive discussion on Thursday with key Delaware decision makers, including State Sen. Nicole Poole, DHSS Secretary Molly Magarik, and State Director Betsey Coulbourn., emphasized the need for individuals to be seen and heard by legislators and policy makers. Personal stories about the impact of disabilities on so many aspects of everyday life enable decision makers to understand the critical needs of their constituents and make good decisions on how to help.
A distinct feature of the Life Conference was the awards program by the State Council on Persons with Disabilities. The SCPD honored several people in the disability community, including Benjamin Shrader, self-advocate and director of RISEde, who was presented with their Rising Star award.