URBANA – You're in a wheelchair and would like to make your house more accessible. Or you have a child with Down syndrome and don't know where to get help.
The second annual "Disabilty Resource Expo," scheduled for Saturday at Lincoln Square Village in downtown Urbana, could have the answer for you. The expo is designed to give Champaign County residents one central place to learn about available resources and promote a better quality of life for people with disabilities, whether they're physical, developmental, mental or emotional. The theme of this year's event is "Reaching out for Answers."
Almost 70 exhibitors will be on hand from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. They include support groups, adult day-care providers, contractors who specialize in modifying homes for the disabled, and larger agencies such as the Pavilion or Developmental Services Center. Also new this year, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Outreach and Employment Services will be on hand to reach out to disabled veterans. "We're seeing those numbers grow" because of the war in Iraq, said expo coordinator Barb Bressner.
The expo is sponsored by the Champaign County Developmental Disabilities Board, Champaign County Mental Health Board, and nine other agencies or local businesses. Bressner, a consultant for the two county agencies, said about 400 people attended last year's inaugural expo.
Informational booths and a children's activity room will be available. The event is fully accessible and will have information in alternative formats, including Braille, large print and CDs, Bressner said. Sign-language interpreters, personal assistants and a Spanish translator will be on hand.
Other scheduled events:
– 9:30 a.m.: Service dog demonstration.
– 10:45 a.m.: Top Star Trampoline & Tumbling.
– 11:30 a.m.; The Girls Next Door a cappella ensemble.
– 12:15 p.m.: Wheelchair obstacle course.
– 12:45 p.m.: Sarah Castle, gold medalist in the 2008 Paralympics.
– 1 p.m.: Wheelchair basketball exhibition – Champaign Heat.