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Updated 1:30 PM October 12, 2007




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  Investing in Ability Week
Programs celebrate, investigate disabilities

To help raise awareness of various disabilities, former Detroit Lions quarterback Eric Hipple will talk about his son's 2000 suicide as part of the 18th annual Investing in Ability Week.

Hipple's talk, set for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Michigan Union, will be part of a discussion on college suicide and depression.

"We're hoping that Eric's story adds a personal touch to the discussion," says Stuart Segal, a clinical psychologist and associate director at the Office of Students with Disabilities, who also will take part in the discussion. "Depression is a mental illness that is curable and more common than (most) think."

The U-M Health System and the Council for Disability Concerns will host the weeklong Investing in Abilities event, Oct. 19-26.

The variety of presentations and events offer people an opportunity to educate the University community while also celebrating the accomplishments of people with disabilities.

The first event begins 11.a.m. Friday, Oct. 19, with "Dogs, Dogs, Dogs... and How They Help," a workshop during which people can meet dogs training to be used in service, assistance and therapy for individuals with disabilities. This meet-and-greet will take place at four different locations across campus.

Other Investing in Abilities discussions will address college suicide, depression, weight concerns and mental health issues in the workplace. Speakers will include faculty members and staff, along with special guests from outside the U-M community.

"The people who put this on and participate are so caring and optimistic," says Anna Schnitzer, a member of the Council for Disability Concerns. "Our group is not funded so everyone's efforts are greatly appreciated."

Investing in Abilities has various volunteers from the University and Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti communities, but a group of about six-to-eight people does the majority of the planning, she says.

Organizers expect several thousand people to attend the week's events. "A lot of our growth is due to the Internet and our ability to get the message out there to a larger audience," says Schnitzer.

The weeklong event concludes with the James T. Neubacher Award Ceremony, in which an individual or group is acknowledged for contributions to disabilities awareness.

Following the ceremony, the Thunderbird wheelchair basketball team will participate in the James T. Neubacher Second Annual WheelchairU+00C2U+00A0Tip-Off. The game starts at 7:30 p.m. in the gymnasium of Pioneer High School.

"What's great about all these events is our ability to raise awareness for disabilities. But our focus is to celebrate the abilities and the progress that has been made," says Schnitzer.

For more information on Investing in Abilities, go to

Investing in Abilities schedule

Friday, Oct. 19

• Dogs, dogs, dogs ... and how they help
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. / U-M Hospital Courtyard; East Ann Arbor Health Center, 4260 Plymouth Road; Diag, near Hatcher Graduate Library; KMS Place, Conference Room 5, 3621 S. State Street.

Monday, Oct. 22

• UMHS Disability Challenge / 11 a.m.-1 p.m. University Hospital, second floor Triangle

• Suicide and Depression in College Aged Students / 1:30-3 p.m. / Anderson D, Michigan Union

• Through Deaf Eyes / 3-5 p.m. / Pendleton Room, Michigan Union

Tuesday, Oct. 23

• Mental Health Problems in the Workplace: Dispelling Myths, Addressing Stigma
10 a.m. to noon / Forum Hall, Palmer Commons

• Adaptive Technology Computing Site Open House / 2-4 p.m. / Shapiro Undergraduate Library, room B-136

Wednesday, Oct. 24

• People With Disabilities and their Daily Lives / 11 a.m. to noon / Location: Biomedical Science Research Building Auditorium, 109 Zina Pitcher Place

• Questions You Always Wanted to Ask About Disabilities and Employment at U-M / 12:30-2 p.m. / Biomedical Science Research Building Auditorium

• Adaptive Technology Computing Site Open House / 2-4 p.m. / Shapiro Undergraduate Library, room B-136

• Together Anything is Possible: Climbing Mount Everest with One Arm and a Great Team! / 2-4 p.m. / Michigan Theater Screening Room, 603 Liberty

Thursday, Oct. 25

• (dis)Ability in the Classroom / 4-6 p.m. / Location: 1013 Palmer Commons

• Adaptive Technology Computing Site Open House / 2-4 p.m. / Shapiro Undergraduate Library, room B-136

Friday, Oct. 26

• James T. Neubacher Award and Certificates of Appreciation Presentation Ceremony / 10 a.m.-noon / Rackham Building, fourth floor Assembly Room

• Adaptive Technology Computing Site Open House / 2-4 p.m. / Shapiro Undergraduate Library, room B-136

• James T. Neubacher Second Annual Wheelchair Tip-Off Event / 7:30 p.m. / Pioneer High School gymnasium

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