Kaitlyn VerfuerthKaitlyn Verfuerth

Kaitlyn Verfuerth, a wheelchair tennis Paralympian from Port Washington, Wis., will be the featured speaker at Concordia University Wisconsin’s (CUW) Disability Awareness Day activities on Oct. 11 at noon in the Albrecht Lounge on the Mequon campus, 12800 N. Lake Shore Drive.

In her talk, entitled, “Finding Abilities within your Disability,” Verfuerth will share her experiences at three Olympic Games (Athens, Beijing, and Rio) and her challenges as a person with a disability.

Verfuerth was injured in a car accident when she was just seven years old. At the age of 13 she started playing tennis competitively. Within a year and a half Verfuerth became one of the best wheelchair tennis players in the United States. While making her mark as a wheelchair athlete, Verfuerth maintained her spot on the Port Washington High School tennis team and was recently inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame.

Kaitlyn Verfuerth (left) hugs teammate Emmy Kaiser after winning bronze in the women's wheelchair tennis doubles event.Kaitlyn Verfuerth (left) hugs teammate Emmy Kaiser after winning bronze in the women's wheelchair tennis doubles event.

In addition to Verfuerth’s talk, CUW will host Allies for Inclusion: Ability Exhibit, a traveling multi-media exhibit designed to promote inclusion of people with disabilities. The Ability Exhibit will be on view from Oct. 11 – 13 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in CUW’s Terrace Room.

It has been twenty years since the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and almost forty years since the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Both of these laws protect against discrimination of people with disabilities by requiring equal access to employment, education, goods and services. Americans have progressed in their attitudes and behaviors toward people with disabilities; however, questions and concerns about appropriate communication still remain. When it comes to interacting with individuals with disabilities, people ask, “What should I do?” “How should I respond?” “Is it okay to say that?” The Ability Exhibit is designed to answer these questions.

All activities are free and open to the public. For more information contact Celeste Delbar, director of the Learning Resource Center, at 262.243.4216 or email at celeste.delbar@cuw.edu.

— This story is written by Kali Thiel, director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at kali.thiel@cuw.edu or 262-243-2149.

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