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2019 TASH Conference
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Each year, the TASH Conference brings together our constituents to share resources and success stories, learn about field-driven best practices, and network within a community engaged in shared values. The Conference is attended by passionate leaders, experts, and advocates from every corner of the disability community. Conference attendees are influential in their fields and communities, and play an important role in the provision of services and supports for the millions of individuals and organizations around the world; and include professors and researchers from leading institutions; those involved in local, state, and federal governments and public policy; special and general educators, and school administrators; self-advocates, adult service providers; students, family members, and many others.  This year’s conference theme, Building Diverse and Inclusive Communities, reminds us that equity, opportunity, and inclusion relies on the input of broad perspectives and experiences.

avatar for Jen Vogus

Jen Vogus

The Arc Williamson County
Able Voices photography program / Board Member
Nashville area
My passion for photography began years ago when I started taking pictures my son, Aidan, who has a disability and is non-verbal. I captured his daily life and favorite things so he could share them with peers and teachers at school, giving him a voice to share his interests and all that he is capable of doing. I share my story and the process of working with teachers to create photo books that enable students to communicate, back and forth, between home and school. This has been a positive, uplifting process for all involved and I expand upon how it can be applied to a variety of environments beyond school and for all ages. After sharing my personal story of communication and advocacy through Aidan’s photo books, I delve deeper during my presentation into how photographs represent a powerful tool for building relationships, changing perspectives, and depicting the many abilities of people with disabilities. I also share my experiences developing and leading photovoice projects that put cameras in the hands of students and adults with special needs, empowering the participants to utilize their own photography as means of self-expression. To share my background, I am an educator, award-winning and internationally recognized photographer, advocate, and a parent of a teenage son who has a disability and is non-verbal. I am a graduate of the TN Council on Developmental Disabilities’ Partners in Policymaking Leadership Program, a board member of The Arc Williamson County and a founding and continuing parent advisory council member of WCSLink, a special education parent organization that collaborates with our local school district. I combine my passions for teaching, photography, and advocacy by working with students with disabilities and adults with early stage Alzheimer’s. I completed an intensive PhotoVoice training and apply this framework to projects I design and lead. I have had the pleasure of presenting my story and this topic at a number of conferences including the The Arc national convention, TN Disability Megaconference, TN Department of Education’s Partners In Education (PIE) conference, The Arc TN’s Future of Disability conference, and at the TN Council on Developmental Disabilities Partners in Policymaking Leadership Institute reunion conference.


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