The Able, Active, and Adaptive Community
The greatest support that a person can have is a community who rallies behind them. This is what the Able, Active, and Adaptive Conference wants to give individuals with disabilities and their families. The conference seeks to educate the entire Bryan/College Station (BCS) community about adaptive practices and accommodations to implement in their everyday lives and their businesses to make the environment more inclusive. Our team is working hard to provide sessions and activities that inform individuals with disabilities and their families about what organizations and groups are available for them in the BCS community. There are also adaptive and accessible organizations at the AAA exhibitor booth fair whose purpose is to help individuals with disabilities in some capacity. These organizations come to the conference to inform attendees about their purpose and recruit new members. There are only a few spots available for these organizations at the conference but there are hundreds or thousands of other amazing organizations in the community. In addition, while there are many attendees at the conference, there is no way that we can reach the entire community in a one-day event. This leaves many community members and organizations without any guidance for finding each other. To overcome this, and reach everyone in the community, AAA is partnering with the Texas A&M Center on Disability and Development to create a resource guide that is available to all. The differentiated community of BCS is divided into sub-communities of support groups, adaptive sport teams, workforce training groups, clubs, exercise classes, and more. Individuals with disabilities may not know about them or do not know how to find the right fit for themselves. The resource guide, which will be introduced at the conference in print form, can help with that. Not all disabilities are the same, and not all people have the same desires. The resource guide (which will eventually be accessible and searchable online) provides a database of all of these possibilities for individuals with disabilities and their families. Searchers can apply filters to find the right group for them. For example, if a 13-year-old boy with autism wants to play basketball, one can type in “autism,” “basketball,” “age 13,” and “male” to see what options are available. This resource is not available for only individuals with disabilities. People of all abilities can search for one of these sub-communities through the resource guide to find volunteer or even career opportunities. The value of this online resource is interactively co-created by both the governing body and its users. If a user knows of a group that is not located in the database, users can help other users find their perfect organization by submitting proposals for new groups to join the list. Each year of the guide’s existence will add more options for the disability population to become involved in their community. The ultimate goal of this online guide is to help individuals with disabilities and their families connect more easily with their BCS community.