Registration is available at the bottom of this page.

Seminar description

Ablesim. How many have heard this term? How is it possible that I or my firm contributes to ableism if we don’t even know what it is? Is ableism even all that bad? Ableism is the most accepted and widely unconsciously practiced form of discrimination that attributes to the oppression, seclusion, and discrimination toward our country’s largest minority group. It is in our language, thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors, and architects and designers contribute to this discrimination without even realizing it in almost every project they work on. This program will explore what ableism is; how to recognize it in our personal and professional lives; how to adjust our mindsets, languages, and behaviors; and how to reimagine designing a more inclusive world. The panel will dive into history, laws, design, language, and how we are able to start deconstructing the cycle of inaccessibility and ableism

Learning objectives
1. Describe what ableism is.

2. Explain how ableism affects architectural design and practice.

3. Identify, address, and adjust mindsets and behaviors when they encounter ableism.

4. Recognize the ethical obligation to be inclusive of those with disabilities in their designs, practices, and lives.


Nathan Mayer is a user experience designer, athlete, and aspiring motivational speaker with a degree in product design from the University of Minnesota. Nathan grew up with a physical disability that has required him to use a power wheelchair, thereby providing him with a different perspective that has influenced his designs and approach to life. This perspective was a catalyst for his love of accessibility in the world. He has viewed accessibility as something for everyone and strives to make the world better each day.

Sarah St. Louis, Assoc. AIA, is a project manager of architecture for LifeTime and has served in various roles in the architecture profession for almost 20 years, including residential, boutique commercial, healthcare, offices, corporate retail, and most recently, health club design. In addition to architecture, Sarah has been a leader in advocacy for accessibility and inclusion of those with disabilities in architecture and business. She created and was the leader for an accessibility education team that created disability awareness, inclusion, and accessibility educational content to be taught to corporate employees in all areas of the company. She has also been a co-chair of an inclusion and diversity steering committee, being the voice for the disability community. Sarah is also a Partners in Policymaking graduate specializing in disability studies and advocacy, public policy, and community leadership.

Dr. Colleen Wieck is executive director of the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities of the Department of Administration, a position she has held for the past 41 years. The Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities is a federally funded, Governor-appointed group of 25 members whose mission is to provide information, education, and training to increase the independence, self-determination, productivity, integration, and inclusion of people with developmental disabilities and their families. Dr. Wieck has produced over 150 publications with the DD Council and several DVD productions, winning national media awards. Colleen is a primary creator of Partners in Policymaking, a leadership training program for adults with disabilities and parents of young children with developmental disabilities.


AIA members $50
Non-members $65

Continuing education credit

This program has been approved for 2.0 AIA HSW LU Hours and should qualify for ethics credit for Minnesota licensing.


  • Complete registration and payment
  • You will then receive a confirmation email with the link and password to access the webinar 
  • View the 2-hour webinar and then complete the ten-question quiz (must score 70% or above for credit)
  • Within 48 business hours you will receive a certificate of completion and/or credits will be recorded to your AIA member transcript


Contact Deanna Christiansen, Continuing Education Director.