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Americans with Disability and Sign Language Conference

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MISSOULA -

Today, The Montana Council on Developmental Disabilities invites anyone and everyone to learn more about disabilities and their presence in our community.

Twenty-three years after The Americans with Disabilities Act brought civil rights to millions of Americans, advocates for disabled individuals said the country still needs a lesson on how to better coincide.

"Unfortunately there still is so much misinformation or no information that folks have on The ADA. So we just think it's very important to bring this training back," CEO of Montana Council on Disabilities, Deborah Swingley said.

Today, Missoulians had that chance with comprehensive training on The American Disabilities Act of 1990 and interacting with people who have disabilities.

The training was given by Cindy Powell, who touched on ADA laws, how to effectively communicate with the disabled, business tax incentives and disability etiquette. All topics to better educate the general public.

"You need to concentrate on the person and the disability secondary. That is just a small part of who the person is so we want to talk about what is the appropriate language to use when referring to people with disabilities," Cindy Powell said.

Later in the afternoon, participants learned the hand shapes of the alphabet, numbers, rules and common phrases of The American Sign Language, also known as ASL.

Swingley said that ASL is the third most used language in the United States and encourages people all over to learn.

"Disability touches all of our lives and certainly if you have legislation such as the ADA, you want to have people be as informed on it as they can be," Swingley said.

The Montana Council of Developmental Disabilities hopes to expand this training throughout Montana's five regions.

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