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President Timmons speaks about the rights of persons with disabilities

By Dale Johnson Posted: October 17, 2016 6:00 a.m.

  President Timmons says when it comes to supporting people with disabilities “there’s a tremendously long way to go.”
President Timmons says when it comes to supporting people with disabilities “there’s a tremendously long way to go.” Photo: U of R Photography

University of Regina President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Vianne Timmons will be discussing a topic close to her heart when she gives a presentation at the Bushwakker Brewpub on Thursday, October 20 at 7:00 p.m.

The topic of Timmons’ speech is “Invoking the Wonders of Science: A Way Forward in Upholding the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities."

"I have both a professional and a personal interest in disability research and how it can improve the lives of people,” she says.

Timmons has spoken publicly about her daughter’s fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) in order to help address the stigma associated with the disability.

Timmons began her career in the field of special education, working as a teacher in British Columbia and Alberta. Part of her work entailed closing segregated schools where children with disabilities attended school separate from others. This experience helped get her very interested in inclusive education, where children with disabilities are educated with their age-appropriate peers. Her doctoral work at the University of Calgary was in this area, and it has remained her research interest and passion. She has done research on the connection between inclusive education and children's health, and currently serves as President of IASSIDD (the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities).

She believes it’s important that she talk publicly about the rights of persons with disabilities.

"It’s important for universities – and it is part of the University of Regina's heritage – to play an active role in the larger community by raising issues of public concern, sharing expertise, and disseminating knowledge that can improve the lives of others and make our communities stronger. The University of Regina's three-part academic mission is teaching, research, and service to community – and our faculty, staff and students do so much to promote this through public education and service. It is my responsibility to support them in this and add my voice to theirs in public whenever I have the opportunity."

The presentation is the latest in the Science Pub Series. This will be the first time that Timmons has been a guest speaker at the Bushwakker Brew Pub.

"My hope is that the audience gets a bit of a 'mixed message' – that we have come a long way in how we view and support persons with disabilities, but that we still have a tremendously long way to go. And of course, that scientific research has a big role to play in the future."

Event:        Invoking the Wonders of Science: A Way Forward in Upholding the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Date:         Thursday, October 20, 2016
Time:         7:00 p.m.
Location:   The Bushwakker Brewpub, 2206 Dewdney Ave., Regina