Last week, the 31st through the 3rd, I was able to attend the ATIA — the national assistive technology conference in Orlando with other members of our AEM team here at CCSD. The Iowa DoE paid for the trip as part of the AT grant that we were awarded a couple of years ago. This was a great experience with lots of high-impact learning and many provocative and impassioned conversations. One of my favorite moments had little to do with AT/AEM, however. As Cheryl Kiburz and I were walking through the vendor exhibit hall, I had to do a triple take to be sure I was seeing that the US intelligence community had a booth. I’ve been to a lot of trade shows over the years, but this was the first time I’ve ever seen the CIA in a vendor hall. I thought it would be cool to get a picture at that booth. I asked Cheryl to take it for me. As I moved up to get in the picture, I let the team at the booth know what we were doing. They let me know it was fine to take the picture, but they would have to get out of the shot — they are spies after all. So, that’s why it appears that no one was at the booth. After visiting with them, we found out that a couple of the agents at the booth were deaf or blind. The booth was there to let the disability community know that the CIA does recruit and employ people with disabilities. As Buddy Berry would say, this was a surprise and a delight.
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