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New Disability Issues Lecture Series Announced

RELEASED: Sept. 29, 2009

Disability Issues Forum posterEAU CLAIRE — The author of a book about growing up with Tourette syndrome will be the first speaker in a new annual lecture series on disability issues at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The Schneider Disability Issues Forum recently was established by Dr. Katherine Schneider, a UW-Eau Claire counselor emerita, through a gift to the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.

Jonathan Friesen, author of "Jerk, California," will present "Do No Harm: When Good Intentions Have Harmful Results" at 4 p.m. Oct. 22 in Room 100 of Hibbard Hall. The author will discuss his childhood experiences with Tourette syndrome and the harmful and healing power of educators.

Friesen, an award-winning author, speaker and writing coach, received the diagnosis of Tourette syndrome late in life. TS or its symptoms also affect several members of his family. "Jerk, California" was the 2009 winner of the American Library Association Schneider Family Book Award for books dealing with disability issues. Friesen has taught in traditional and special education classrooms and in university settings for the past 15 years. He currently serves on the board of the Minnesota Tourette Syndrome Association and is a national speaker on disability issues.

Schneider, who wrote her own book relating her experiences as a blind person, "To the Left of Inspiration: Adventures in Living with Disabilities," and who worked in Counseling Services at UW-Eau Claire for 14 years, established the speaker series to help people understand accessibility issues for people who have disabilities.

"Establishing this disability issues forum is a way to expand on the educating I was able to do while working at the university," Schneider said."I'm thrilled that we were able to garner an award-winning author for our first speaker."

Friesen will visit Eau Claire public schools as part of the Authors in the Schools program Oct. 23 and will speak at the 10th annual Chippewa Valley Book Festival Oct. 24.

The lecture is co-sponsored by UW-Eau Claire's department of education studies, Services for Students with Disabilities and the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.

More information about Friesen is available online. For more information on how to support the lecture series and/or disability services at UW-Eau Claire, call Kimera Way, executive director of UW-Eau Claire Foundation, at 715-835-5180 or visit the Foundation Web site.

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KH/DW

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