Lex Gillette is a globally recognized Paralympic track and field athlete for Team USA. Competing primarily in the long jump, Lex has amassed four Paralympic medals, four world champion titles, and he is the current world record holder in the event. He is the only totally blind athlete on the planet to eclipse the 22-foot barrier in the long jump. He is currently training for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games where he aims to bring back gold for the United States of America.
Robbed of his sight during childhood, Lex Gillette was determined not to fall victim to a world consumed by darkness. With the aid of his mother, Lex was exposed to a diverse offering of resources and tools that were essential to his ability to achieve great things independently . “Elexis, it does not matter what anyone says. You decide what you can do, and no one else.” Those are the exact words spoken by Lex’s mother and were echoed in a 2016 Procter and Gamble commercial that featured both of them. Those same words have helped her son succeed in transforming what was once a tragedy, into a triumph. His athletic talents have been featured in media outlets including ESPN, Sports Illustrated, USA Today Sports, and People Magazine. He is a 2015 inductee in the ADN Hall of Fame.
Dona Sauerburger, COMS, has learned a thing or two in the 50 years that she’s been providing O&M to people with visual impairments, and she’s eager to share it with you and learn some more! She has done hundreds of presentations and workshops around the world and has written extensively on O&M topics, including co-authoring two chapters in the Foundations of O&M textbook – she is currently revising her book, “Independence Without Sight or Sound: Suggestions for Practitioners Working with Deaf-Blind Adults,” which received AER’s Bledsoe Award in literature in 1994.
Amber is a National Leadership in Sensory Disabilities Scholar and doctoral candidate at the University of Northern Colorado. Amber’s research efforts have focused on variables and experiences related to optic nerve hypoplasia, self-regulation, and challenging student behavior. Amber has 19 years of practical experience working as a teacher for students with visual impairments and orientation and mobility specialist in large and small metropolitan school districts. While the majority of her responsibilities have been in the k-12 setting, she has experience working with adults as well as infants and toddlers receiving IDEA Part C services. Amber’s extended responsibilities have included recruitment and retention efforts, mentoring and training new teachers, and serving as both the gifted education and assistive technology coordinator in her current position.