Brian Bard is a program specialist with the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program at The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). Before joining NIDILRR, he worked at OSERS/RSA as a grants management specialist handling assistive technology formula grant programs.
Brian has also spent several years as a state vocational rehabilitation counselor in Delaware. Previously, he worked for the Air Force as an intelligence specialist, ran an eBay business with his wife, worked on websites, wrote for newspapers and magazines, and worked as a computer programmer.
He holds a Masters degree in rehabilitation counseling from George Washington University.
Brian’s been an advocate for individuals with disabilities via several committees in Delaware (and Florida), including the Policy and Law Committee, the State Council for Persons with Disabilities, and the State Rehabilitation Council. He’s volunteered as a mentor for individuals with disabilities and taught computer courses for individuals with disabilities.
When he’s not busy indulging his love of technology, Brian enjoys SCUBA diving, HAM radios, service dogs and target shooting.
He lives with this wife in Seaford, Del., and has two children. Brian notes that he’s been a quadriplegic for nearly 30 years, the result of a diving accident while on his honeymoon. He says he understands the proper phrase now is “tetraplegic,” but adds that he “can’t seem to get used to that term.”
Charles Bryant is a training/education administrator for the Office of Professional Development within the State of Delaware’s Department of Health and Social Services/Division of Developmental Disabilities Services. In that role, he creates and implements statewide training programs for direct support professionals.
Charles got his start in mental health and intellectual and developmental disabilities services at Manhattan Psychiatric Center on Wards Island, N.Y., later relocating to Goldsboro, N.C. to raise his two children in a country environment. While there he worked at O’Berry Center and Cherry Hospital, then left IDD services for 12 years to became a police officer with the Goldsboro Police Department. In 2007, he moved to Delaware, returning to the work he “truly enjoys.”
Charles says his passion for serving people with developmental disabilities stems from a personal experience he and his wife shared in 1988. Their second child, Terrence Bryant, was born with cerebral palsy and lived eight months. Charles says that at that time, he didn’t understand why such a thing could happen to such a young and innocent life. But later, he found himself in a position to help people who in various ways are like Terrence. Now, Charles says, he understands why his son’s life was cut short. His son “ignited a flame within my heart to serve people with developmental disabilities.”
Charles lives with his family in Dover, Del.
Jasmina Chatani is a graduate student at the University of Delaware, pursuing both a Master’s and Education Specialist degree in School Psychology. She received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with minors in Human Development and Family Studies and Cognitive Science from UD in May 2017.
Jasmina became interested in working with students with disabilities while completing work study at The College School her sophomore year at UD. As an after-school homework mentor to children with attention, learning and behavioral difficulties, she decided she wanted to combine her passion for psychology with the educational system to ensure that all students have the academic and emotional support they need to thrive. She’s excited to learn more about the disability community as the graduate assistant for CDS’s Communications and Advocacy Unit this school year and looks forward to contributing to the Inclusion blog, exploring issues related to quality of life, specialized instruction and inclusive education. She plans to serve children, families, schools and communities in innovative ways.
When she’s not working or studying, Jasmina enjoys spending time with her family and friends, watching movies, taking walks and daydreaming about vacations she’d like to take.
Zachary Davis is an outreach associate at the Center for Disability Studies. An Elkton, Md. resident, he first studied saxophone performance at the Lawrence Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wis. After the onset of a severe mental disorder, he moved back home and transferred to the University of Delaware.
At UD he studied neuroscience, Japanese and anthropology before returning to writing and acting, his first loves. He will graduate in 2018 with a B.A. in English.
His interest in disability advocacy was born from personal experience and has played a part in everything he’s done since, from research on abnormal psychology to acting with UD’s Healthcare Theatre program, where he specialized in portraying patients with mental and physical disabilities.
Zachary works as a stage and voice actor. He is proudest of his work with the Delaware Shakespeare Festival and as an audiobook narrator.
At home, he and his mom, a professional author, enjoy writing, performing music, going on long road trips and playing video games. They also keep company with an adorable Husky and two highly opinionated cats.