BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — People with disabilities often find it hard to advocate for their well-being and speak up. But at the Day of Advocacy at the Bismarck Event Center, they have a place where they can hear from those who can and learn how to do so themselves.

As an important event for both people with disabilities and their advocates, the conference hosted a huge number of individuals from across North Dakota and beyond. All of them gathered together for one purpose — to better understand the difficulties of working with individuals with disabilities and how to better serve those who may be affected by them.

Stickers for individuals with (or without) disabilities, indicating the level of touch that they deem appropriate.

KX also has a personal stake in the conference — Amber Wheeler, one of the hosts of our Studio 701 program, served as a guest on a panel regarding her brother Nate. After a car accident, Nate was left with a traumatic brain injury, and during the panel, he, Amber, and their mother Patty discussed his journey to recovery and his return to living life to the fullest.

Other panels also took place throughout the Event Center, including discussions on navigating boundary confusion in people with disabilities, supported decision-making, empowerment, advocacy, empathy, and healthy relationships.

An introductory video at the beginning of the event featured a welcome video, as well as an appearance from keynote speaker and advocate Russell Lehmann.

A social event, where guests could meet up with vendors and guest speakers, rounded out the Day of Advocacy — but this isn’t the end of health events in Bismarck this week. The North Dakota Power Up Health Conference takes place at the Event Center on Wednesday, August 31. For information on the Power Up conference, visit its event page.

More about advocating for individuals with disabilities is available on the State Council on Developmental Disabilities’ website.