Creating Community: How to Create Accessible and Inclusive Opportunities

Learn how to create community opportunities that are designed to meet the needs of an inclusive community. By putting the needs of those with the most significant disabilities at the foundation of the activity and building upon that, it is possible to create opportunities which truly include individuals with disabilities as equal members of the community. Being part of community is an important aspect of life and a focus of advocacy organizations – to get people with disabilities out into their communities as equal and active participants. Unfortunately however, finding community opportunities that can be modified or that can accommodate individuals with a range of disabilities isn’t as easy as it sounds – especially for individuals with significant intellectual and physical disabilities. As the parent of a young adult with significant disabilities, I am always struggling to find ways to modify available community opportunities so that my daughter can participate and even then, she is often left out of a significant portion any activity because it is foundationally an activity that is designed for individuals with full range of physical and intellectual abilities. Activities that, at a foundational level, are designed to accommodate a range of disabilities can include all members of a community thus providing true access to that community for individuals with disabilities.

Participants in this session will learn:

  1. 1. how to build a community that includes all members through inclusive opportunities
  2. 2. how to develop activities using universal design which put individuals with significant disabilities as the foundational starting point
  3. 3. how to promote and sustain those activities The presenter will showcase a range of activities/opportunities that have helped to build inclusive opportunities and a more visible presence within the greater community for individuals with disabilities. These activities include book clubs, exercise groups, dinner groups and on-line opportunities

Melissa Ainsworth, Caroline Ainsworth