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Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month – April 2024 Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities

By News

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication. Autism looks different for everyone, and each person with autism has a distinct set of strengths and challenges.

The Autism Society of America invites everyone to join #CelebrateDifferences with the belief that recognizing how connected we all are in our differences, strengths, and challenges can be what unites us instead of divides us.

Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the United States with 1 in 36 children having the diagnosis. Diagnosis is critical as children who receive an Autism diagnosis by age 4 are more likely to receive services which lead to improved long-term outcomes.

Awareness of the diagnosis leads to acceptance. And acceptance brings good jobs, more opportunities for employment, housing that is affordable, accessible, and integrated, transportation systems which match personal needs and lifestyles, inclusive voting processes, and any needed long-term services and supports.

The Autism Society will travel nationwide to collect community stories for their “Road to Acceptance” campaign. This mobile video studio will engage community members to reflect on acts of acceptance, moments of challenges, and opportunities for greater inclusion. Learn more about the campaign at Autism Society of America.

View Proclamation

Inclusive Vision UH ‘FIXIT’ Call Center Now Staffed by Blind and Low-Vision Operators

By Blog, News

Locks not working? Broken faucet? Too hot in your office or dorm room? Faculty, staff and students at the University of Houston rely on the FIXIT program to fulfill a wide range of non-emergency work requests on campus. Now, through a new partnership with WorkQuest and The Lighthouse of Houston, the UH FIXIT call center is staffed by blind and low-vision operators with 24/7 availability. Read More

Governor Abbott Declares October 15th White Cane Day

By Blog, News

White Cane Day is October 15th

White Cane Day Austin logo According to the American Council of the Blind, White Cane Day was first recognized in 1964 by President Lyndon Johnson as White Cane Safety Day. Since then, October 15th has been celebrated as White Cane Day. Originally intended as a reminder to the public to respond with care and courtesy to those using the white cane, today it is celebrated as a time to educate the wider community on the remarkable contributions made by their blind and visually impaired peers.

Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation declaring October 15th to be White Cane Day in Texas, and encouraged all Texans to “learn more about blindness and visual impairment, and how these challenges do not define the Texans who have overcome them.” Take this time to learn more about our fellow Texans and the ways in which they have contributed to the diverse fabric of our state. Texas is a brighter, stronger state when everyone has the opportunity to progress and fulfill their full potential.

While White Cane Day will be a little different this year, there will still be celebrations across the state! Continue reading below for more information on virtual White Cane Day celebrations being held in Houston, Austin, and Dallas.

Houston White Cane Day Celebrations

Houston will be hosting their 13th annual White Cane Safety Day Program and Resource Fair via Zoom. One registration grants you access to both events. The celebrations will include a special proclamation from Mayor Sylvester Turner, an overview of the history of White Cane Safety Day, guest speakers, virtual door prizes, and special performances!

Zoom Program: 10:00a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Zoom Resource Fair: 1:00p.m. – 3:00p.m.

Don’t miss keynote speaker Tracy Minish, Mission Control Manager for NASA and the Johnson Space Center! Diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa and legally blind, Tracy is a 35-year veteran of NASA’s Manned Flight Programs. He has trained astronauts and flight controllers, worked as a shuttle programmer and instructor, and much more. His story is sure to be a highlight at this year’s Houston White Cane Safety Day virtual program. Make sure to register by October 14th!

For more information, contact Benigno Aceves at [email protected].

Register for Houston's White Cane Day Celebrations

Austin White Cane Day Celebrations


Austin’s virtual White Cane Day celebration starts Wednesday, October 14th at 9:00 a.m. The event will kick off with The Spinrockers singing “Got This by Myself” and a performance of the National Anthem by a Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center student! The event will also feature pictures and video clips sent in by attendees wearing their White Cane Day t-shirts and walking in their neighborhoods with homemade signs. The keynote speaker will be University of Texas- San Antonio graduate and owner of Alyssa’s Beads for Life, Alyssa Minwell.

Watch the Austin White Cane Day Livestream


Dallas White Cane Day Celebrations

Dallas will be hosting their first-ever virtual White Cane Day celebration from 11:00 a.m. to noon on Thursday, October 15th. They will open with a proclamation from Mayor Eric Johnson, followed by a 30-minute informative panel on North Texas services supporting people with blindness. Providers include Envision Dallas, Texas Workforce solutions, Mobility Management Services, and the Dallas chapters of American Council of the Blind and National Federation of the Blind. There will also be an important update from Dallas County election on accessible voting, along with a few fun surprises you won’t want to miss!

From 11:30 to noon attendees will have the opportunity to participate in one of four panels. Organizers request you review the options below and include the option number in your RSVP:

Option #1: Tech Talk with accessible technology guru Jack Hickman. He and his collaborator will present some of the latest and greatest assistive technology available to people both legally and totally blind. Jack will help empower you to choose the best technology for your needs!

Option #2: Connect with Chelsea Nguyen to discuss grooming and appearance tips for people with vision impairments. She will give valuable advice on how to put your best foot forward!

Option #3:  Neva Fairchild with the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) will lead an important discussion on when, why, and how to disclose your disability when seeking employment.

Option #4: Staff from the Dallas County Elections department will walk you through the proper steps when using their voter machine. The machine is completely accessible for people without sight, and their tips will help you vote with confidence!

Be sure to RSVP below or by calling 214-420-9411. Identify which breakout session you wish to participate in and what number you will be calling from if you choose to participate via telephone.  Save the day and save the Zoom Link! The call in number is 1-346-248-7799,  Meeting ID: 950 0511 3086.

RSVP for Dallas White Cane Day


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Jamie Chilton of Beacon Lighthouse for the Blind honored with 2019 Artie Lee Hinds Award

By News

Jamie Chilton, of Beacon Lighthouse for the Blind in Wichita Falls, was recognized by WorkQuest with the 2019 Artie Lee Hinds Award at its recent award dinner. The award honors an outstanding community rehabilitation program (CRP) employee for leadership, dedicated service and commitment to excellence. Chilton, a Beacon Lighthouse employee for the past three years, works as a general operator, helping with the shovel press, drill press, sheeting slitter and other areas around the Lighthouse. With a multi-talented range of skills, she’s quick to help anyone who needs assistance. Read More