Author Judy McFarlane to discuss ‘A Journey Beyond Down Syndrome’ at disABILITY Conference

First Posted: 9/29/2014

Authors Judy McFarlane and Grace Chen will deliver a public lecture in conjunction with the 13th Annual Northeastern U.S. Conference on disABILITY, hosted by The University of Scranton’s Panuska College of Professional Studies. The lecture, titled “A Journey Beyond Down Syndrome,” will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 29 in the McIlhenny Ballroom of the DeNaples Center on campus.

The author of “Writing with Grace: A Journey Beyond Down Syndrome,” McFarlane will describe how she was transformed by her experience helping Chen, a 24-year-old woman with Down syndrome, write a book. Chen will also participate in the lecture.

In her book, McFarlane relates the often dark history of Down syndrome and delves into what it takes to face one’s own prejudice, live a full life and believe you are worthy. From a young woman who is marginalized by society, McFarlane learns how much courage it takes to follow a dream when everyone tells you it’s impossible.

McFarlane, who has written fiction and non-fiction stories and articles for a variety of publications, has been nominated for several awards and has been a writer-in-residence at schools across her native Canada.

The public lecture is part of the daylong Conference on disAbility, titled “Faith, Family and Future: Rehabilitation with Results.” Keynote speakers at the conference include Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D., newly-elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Archbishop of Louisville, Kentucky.; Janet L. LaBreck, commissioner, Rehabilitation Services Administration, U.S. Department of Education; and Kathleen West-Evans, director of business relations for the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR).

This year’s sponsors are Prudential Retirement, Allied Integrated Health System and the University’s Jesuit Center.

Additional information about the conference can be found by emailing conference co-chairs Rebecca Spirito Dalgin at or Lori Bruch, Ed.D, at

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