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About: Speakers


Samantha Ambrico-Custer

Speaker, researcher, writer

Samantha is a self-advocate with a passion for inclusion and accessibility. Born with a rare genetic disorder that resulted in congenital blindness, she is regularly asked to speak in schools, serve on panels, and offer guidance to nonprofits on topics such as self-advocacy, self-acceptance, guide dogs, and inclusive dance. Currently a graduate student, she is working toward completing her MS in Counseling and Clinical Health Psychology, with plans to pursue licensure as a Dance/Movement Therapist.

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Jaime Silberman Bassman


is a member who provides...


Dr Christa Bialka, Ed.D

Speaker, researcher, writer

Christa is a professor at Villanova University and teaches courses in Disability Studies and Trends in Special Education, just to name a couple. She encourages her students to think critically about the messages that society and the media send about disabilities throughout history.


Caroline Borgia

Speaker, researcher, writer

Caroline is a recent graduate of Lower Merion High School and a valuable member of the group.  She brings a fresh look into disability issues, specifically autism.


Elysia Jyothi Mancini Duerr, J.D.


Elysia is the Director of Operations of H-CAN as a whole and a staff attorney at Disability Rights PA.


Natalia Saddi


Natalia is one of the founders of this group.  She is a  committed ally who, along with Sharon, does much of the heavy lifting and behind-the-scenes activities that allow us to have successful events and outreach.


Nadine Silber, J.D.

Speaker, researcher, writer

Nadine is an Autistic Advocate, author, attorney and mother to two boys who are also on the spectrum. She writes about Neurodiversity and Inclusion relying on her firsthand experience as an Autistic individual and as a parent raising Neurodiverse children in a Neurotypical world.

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David Perry


David is one of our speakers who speaks on his experience with Down Syndrome.


Sharon Pennock


Prior to becoming a disability rights advocate, Sharon worked in the nonprofit world. Her  invisible disabilities have given her an understanding of stigma, misunderstandings and discrimination that disabled people face. She formed the Disability and Accessibility Action Group of H-CAN to break down barriers by building connections and working “behind the scenes” to bring more awareness, understanding and acceptance.


Nelson  Vecchione

Speaker, researcher, writer

Nelson is a long-time political activist who, in recent years, has focused his attention on disability rights and criminal justice reform. In addition to his involvement with the Disability and Accessibility Action Group of H-CAN, he currently serves on the Storytelling Committee of the Delaware County Coalition for Prison Reform (DelcoCPR).  Nelson holds a B.S. in Professional Studies from West Chester University with minors in Anthropology, Ethnic Studies and International Business. 


Barbara Steltz Wittman, M.S.

Speaker, researcher, writer

Barbara is a software engineer, martial artist and disability rights advocate. As a person with a mobility disability, she has personal experience with children's curiosity!

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