Good day, ladies and gentlemen. And welcome to your Extracurricular Athletic Opportunities for Students with Disabilities conference. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we will have a question-and-answer session, and instructions will follow at that time. If anyone should require assistance during the conference, please press star and zero on your touchtone telephone. As a reminder, this conference call is being recorded. I would now like to introduce your host for today''s conference, Miss Jessica Madrigal. Miss Madrigal, you may begin your conference.
Thank you. Welcome, everyone. We are sorry we are getting started a few minutes late. We apologize for that. We wanted to make sure that we had our sound and our captioning working for everyone. I''d like to welcome you to today''s audio conference series. This is provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) National Network. We provide technical assistance and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act. I am just going to take you through a few logistical things to go through our webinar platform to make sure that everyone has some ease of use today. So if you are listening to the session, the audio -- one moment, please. The audio for today''s webinar is being broadcast through your computer or via your telephone for those of you that registered for that option. If you''re using your computer, please make sure that your speakers are turned on or that your headphones are plugged in so that you can get that sound. If you have any sound quality problems during the course of the session, you can check your audio controls by going through our Audio Wizard, which you can access by selecting the microphone icon on the Audio & Video panel. A few more items about listening to the webinar. We now have a new feature where we can allow mobile users using an iPhone or an iPad. Still haven''t opened that up to more devices, but if you have an iPhone or iPad, this will work for you. You can then listen to this session using the Blackboard Collaborate app that''s available for free from the app Apple store. Unfortunately, closed captioning is not available using the mobile app, and the ability to read the content of the presentation slides is limited for individuals using accessibility features. We do provide captioning in our webinar platform, so we have real-time captioning being provided for today''s session. This will also be available in the archived version of the session for those that need this feature. The caption screen can be accessed by choosing the CC icon in the audiovisual panel that is up in the right top corner of that Audio & Video panel. Once you select that, you will have the option to resize the captioning window, change the size of the font, and also save the transcript if you wish to do so. If you experience any technical difficulties during today''s session, something that we hope never happens to anyone, but in the event that it does, in the webinar platform, you can send a private chat message to the host by double-clicking Great Lakes ADA in the participant list. This will provide you with a tab in the chat panel where you can type whatever technical difficulty you''re having in the text box and price Enter. You can also use the keyboard shortcut of F6 and arrow up and down to locate Great Lakes ADA, then select that do send a message. We would be happy to assist you in that way. You can also email us at email@example.com with your technical difficulty, and one of our staff will be able to assist you via email or what is often most convenient is to call us at our toll-free number, 877-232-1990, and one of our staff members would be happy to assist you and troubleshoot any of those technical problems. We do take questions and answers at the end of the session, and that is usually one of our most prominent features that people come to the sessions for, to get those burning questions answered. So just to go over submitting questions, you can type your questions in the chat area text box or press control-M and enter the text in the chat area. You will not see the question after you submit it, but I will be moderating the chat box. I will be receiving those questions. And I will be queuing those up for when we get to the question-and-answer period. If you''re connected via a mobile device, you can put your questions in that chat area. And if you are listening by phone and not logged into the webinar platform, you can ask questions by emailing them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are on the phone, the operator will be giving instructions on how to get into the queue for questions once we get into that portion of today''s session. A little about customizing your view. If you want to resize the whiteboard, you can make that smaller or larger by choosing the drop-down menu located to the above and left of the whiteboard. You are currently in the default setting to fit the screen to the page. You can also resize or reposition your chat, participant, audio/video panels by detaching them and using your mouse to reposition them and stretch and shrink those. Each panel can be detached using the icon with the lines on it that are in the upper right corner of each panel. And without further adieu, I would like to hand this over to our presenters today. We are very lucky to have a great group with us that''s going to talk about extracurricular athletics and how that relates to students with disabilities. Today we have Terri Lakowski from Active Policy Solutions; Tommie storms and Bev Vaughn from the American association of adaptive sports programs; and Eli Wolfe from the Institute for Human Centered Design. So I will pass it over to them now, and we can get the content of today''s session started.
Thank you, Jessica. This is Terri Lakowski, and I appreciate everyone taking the opportunity to join the call today. I am looking forward to our discussion. I want to start by giving some context to where we were before the guidelines came out in terms of the current state or I should say previous state, as we are now two months into the guidelines for students with disabilities. as many of you know, in terms of interscholastic and intercollegiate athletic opportunities for students with disabilities, we had and have a long way to go before the guidelines came out, which is why these were so critical. At the NCAA level, there were fewer than 15 colleges and universities that offer adapted programs for students with disabilities. There are really great and strong ones that exist, but most often, those are the exception, not the rule. We have great wheelchair basketball programs, for example, at the University of Illinois, University of Alabama, but the NCAA does not formally sanction them as intercollegiate sports. While we''ve made great strides in terms of the representation of athletes at the paralympic level, there''s still a long way to go in terms of having equal representation of people with disabilities and in our olympic and paralympic games. Similarly, at the high school level, in terms of formally recognized opportunities for students with disabilities, there are few states that have adapted programs that have been created. Where they do exist, we often see them in one season as opposed to comprehensive sports in every season, which we are actually going to hear a little bit about one example in Georgia when Bev and Tommie talk later. There is a lot of progress to be made. I am going to hand it over to Eli, as an athlete himself, who can tell us why this is so important as a landmark opportunity for people with disabilities.
Okay. Thank you, Terri. I wanted to just be able to share sort of the essential importance and benefits as it relates to students with disabilities getting involved in the sports system. And here, this quote, talking about that sport, recreation, and play is far from being trivial. It is essential for fully realizing the human rights promise. Part of this whole initiative is to make sure that students with disabilities do have that opportunity to enjoy sport and to realize those benefits that all other students with or without disabilities can engage. So thank you very much, and I''ll turn it back to Terri to continue on.
Thanks, Eli. Now I''m going to give you a little background on how this guidance came to be. Really, it all started with Tatyana McFadden, who I know many of you are familiar with. Amazing paralympic athlete. When she was a sophomore at Appleton High School in Howard County, Maryland, she was denied the right to participate as a full member of her track and field team. As a result of her courage, she stood up, and in partnership with the Maryland Disability Law Center, filed a lawsuit against the school, and Howard County, challenging her right to have access to the track & field team. They won one aspect of the lawsuit, and in subsequent lawsuits that filed, we lost part of it. I won''t get into all the details of the legal matter, but the heart of the matter is that going through this process in Maryland really was a light bulb moment for us in the community because one of the things the court said that was so important in this case was that there is really a lack of guidance under the Rehabilitation Act on how to effectively serve people with disabilities in school sports programs. While there is general recommendation and requirements that they be treated equally, the finding and specificity, what that means, doesn''t exist. So looking to the example of what we have learned from women under Title IX, if you look at Title IX and you look at the Rehab Act, the language and the statute itself are completely identical. You interchange "sex" with "disability," and you have the Rehab Act. Unlike Title IX, where we have been so successful accessing sports for women, after the law was passed in ''72, there was detailed regulations and guidance that came out that really defined what it means to provide women with an equal opportunity in sports. It means providing them equal participation opportunities, scholarships, resources, facilities, all the benefits that we know make up an athletic experience. Where people with disabilities, we didn''t have the same level of specificity under law. That''s what has been leading to situations like Tatyana McFadden and like where we have seen a lack of comprehensive programs at the intercollegiate and interscholastic level for students with disabilities. This guidance worked. It increased participation opportunities for athletes at the high school level astronomically, similarly at the collegiate level. After the McFadden case, a group of us got together and formed a coalition under the Inclusive Fitness Coalition and started a state effort in Maryland as well as a federal effort to close this policy gap and to essentially replicate the success we have with guidance we''ve seen for women under Title IX. Our first was the passage of the Fitness and Athletics Equity for Students with Disabilities Act in Maryland in 2008. This was the first and actually still is the only state law of its kind that specifies in detail what it means to provide students with disabilities with an equal opportunity to participate in interscholastic sports. In the four or five years now since the law has been enacted, we''ve seen great progress in Maryland and numerous different types of adapted programs and accommodations being made for students with disabilities in the school setting. Simultaneously, while working we state level in Maryland, we started a federal effort, and the first step from that was commissioning a GAO, Government Accountability Office, study to look at opportunities for students with disabilities in our school setting. The Government Accountability Office is the research arm of Congress. What we tasked them to do was examine what are the barriers students with disabilities accessing resources in schools, what opportunities need to be created and what are the impediments happening? The GAO study was a huge moment in this movement. What it did was the recommendations that came out of the study is really what has led to the guidance as we know it. The GAO didn''t say anything novel to a lot of us that are in the community for a long time that says there are barriers to opportunities, students with disabilities aren''t being treated equally in terms of physical education and sports. But the major light bulb moment was it said there''s confusion out there. Administrators don''t know how to include students effectively into their programs. Students with disabilities themselves do not understand effectively what their rights are to be integrated into these programs. So we need more guidance. And the GAO called on the Department of Education to issue further guidance under the Rehabilitation Act clarifying the rights of students with disabilities to access interscholastic athletic programs. That''s exactly what happened. So Secretary of Education, in response to the recommendations of the GAO study, publicly committed to issuing this guidance as well as putting out resources under the Office of Special Ed and Rehab Services to provide technical assistance in how to fulfill this request. So let me talk a little bit about now what the current law requires. So right here we''re looking at this is the Rehab Act. If you recall earlier, looks exactly like Title IX. You cannot discriminate on the basis of disability in educational institutions that receive federal financial assistance. This applies to all levels of education, including elementary schools, all the way up to colleges and universities. Most private schools, in fact, receive some sort of federal funding, whether it''s through tax subsidies or, you know, Pell grants. So we''re talking pretty much about every arm of the educational environment. So the current regulations, even before guidance, already addressed the issue of inclusion in three ways. First, what the regulations did is they required mainstreaming students with disabilities to the maximum extent appropriate. This is making Accommodations to include students with disabilities in your mainstream programs. It did require that schools provide equal opportunity, but it didn''t define what that equal opportunity looked like. And the previous regulations did encourage the creation of adapted programs. What happened in January went further. It did not create any new obligation on the schools. What it did was it further defined what those regulations in the previous slide means, what it means to provide students with disabilities access in mainstream athletic programs. And it gave examples of what that looks like. It looks like modifying a two-hand touch rule to accommodate amputee in swimming. It looks like using a lighting device in addition to a starting gun so deaf athletes can be on the track & field team. Similarly, it also provided specific details on what equal treatment of student athletes with disabilities means in terms of resources and facilities and access. And the guidance further provided a roadmap for how schools can create adapted programs for students with disabilities and what that looks like. When we''re looking at including students with disabilities in the mainstream programs, in programs with students without disabilities, the legal framework that the guidance put forward all revolves around the standard of reasonable accommodation. So students with disabilities must be accommodated to the maximum extent possible where they can be accommodated reasonably. Now, the key here is looking at the individual circumstances of each student. And this is often times what we see that wasn''t happening is that students with disabilities would be told no, they can''t participate because they''re unsafe or too old or don''t have the right eligibility requirements in terms of academics. What the guidelines says is that is not sufficient. You have to look at the individual disability and see what is the nature of the disability? What is the need of the accommodation that can integrate them into the academic environment? Is the reason they are too old is because they have an intellectual disability and are behind in school. Are they actually unsafe on the track, or do they have the skill set necessary to participate in an effective environment? Where they can be accommodated and doesn''t alter the essential aspect of the game or give them a competitive advantage, schools now have to do that. So now I am going to turn the presentation over to my colleagues, who will talk a little bit more in specificity about how this is going to be implemented on the ground and what are am so of the best practices that we already have working in our school systems that can give us a roadmap for how to implement this guidance.
Okay. Thank you, Terri. Before turning it over to Bev and Tommie to talk about one of the model programs, we did want to be able to share just a few minutes to talk about the postsecondary landscape, particularly with regard to opportunities and where we''re headed. One of the initiatives that''s emerged and taken forth is the NCAA Subcommittee on Student Athletes with Disabilities that has recently been structured to develop the landscape and to look to the future with regard to policy and education and implementation for student athletes with disabilities at the collegiate level. An upcoming forum, April 30th to May 2nd, in Indianapolis is the NCAA Inclusion Forum, which will address the opportunities for student athletes with disabilities. To highlight sort of what''s happening at the collegiate level, it''s important to know and to be aware that there are eight men''s and four women''s intercollegiate wheelchair basketball programs as well as several track programs. In various universities around the country, there are adaptive athletic opportunities at the intramural and intercollegiate level, and some of those are within mainstream, and some are in adapted settings. Just a few resources. The intercollegiate wheelchair basketball division of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association, as well as other Web-based resources that are looking at the landscape of collegiate opportunities. We did just want to highlight that in August we will be focusing more specifically at the landscape of colleges and universities, so we look forward to following up with more details regarding that. So without further adieu, I''ll pass it on to Bev and Tommie to share the models. Thank you.
Thank you, Eli. This is Bev Vaughn, and with the American Association of Adapted Sports Programs, and the next section we''re going to talk a little bit more about the compliance in three primary areas, some of what Terri was mentioning earlier. The first area is where we can have a student with a disability be integrated or mainstreamed on the traditional athletic team. That is what we want to see happening. And this can be done through a local assessment of the student, what is the disability, is the student able to take part without changing the nature of the sport? Are they safe to take part? And does it not present an undue administrative burden for the school and the school district? So this is something that actually has been going on for some time, and we hear stories of this in various athletic areas and states throughout the country of successful mainstreaming of students with disabilities onto traditional teams. Where we now are seeing the guidance help in defining for schools where we can go further and where we can do more for students with disabilities to take part in athletics are additional programs that can be added to the athletic extracurricular offerings of school districts, and of course, we have students with intellectual disabilities or cognitive impairments that are being served through Special Olympics and the unified sport program, where they combine students with intellectual disabilities with able-bodied students all on one team to take part in athletics. And the next section, we have another portion of our student population that is what we refer to as physically disabled students, those students that don''t have a cognitive impairment or are not intellectually disabled, and they have sort of fallen through the cracks. So our organization, over 15 years ago, began to look at these issues and take this on and design programs that could be integrated into school district athletic offerings to get these kids off the sidelines and into the game. This is what we refer to as adapted sport. Our organization works with numerous school districts and state high school associations to help provide an organizational structure to enable statewide competition in these adapted sports. And this is done similarly in the fashion of high school sports, where we have high school teams competing in a sport, in a particular sport season, so they are all under the same rules and policy and guidance, and they''re participating in regular season competition and going into post-season and championship state events. So we are running these programs in a very similar way for students with physical disabilities that are competitive and equitable, as their nondisabled peers are getting. In addition to the structure, we also provide governing rules, sanctioning policies and guidance for school districts and states. And then we help with implementation. We help the school set up their programs because these are the school programs, and that''s important as far as the guidance goes because we want the schools to be offering these programs just as they are offering girls or boys sports. Now we also have sports for physically disabled students that can take part. All right. So part of assistance that we provide or training for coaches, we work with athletic directors and special education directors, itinerant teachers, and the whole spectrum of educators who are working with these students so they can help identify the students, and actually, many of them are serving as coaches, whether they are physical education teachers or adapted PE teachers. In addition, our organization helps just advocate at the state and national level with regard to adapted sports and beginning to educate schools how they can provide these programs. So that''s a brief overview of our group. In particular, the sports that we sanction, we offer sport in the fall, in the winter, and in the spring. In the fall, we offer a sport called wheelchair team handball. In the winter we offer wheelchair basketball. In the spring we offer wheelchair football. We have found in the course of over 15 years that it is extremely reasonable for school districts to do and engages a wide variety of students with physical disabilities. Now, a couple of key points here. Not all the students who take part use a wheelchair day to day for mobility. Some may use an assistive device. Some may just have a disability that may affect their ankle or their hip. But all the students get in a wheelchair to practice and compete. This helps level the playing field for all the students and engages a wider group of your student population. So we have students, for example, with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, amputation, well over 35 varying physical disabilities that can take part in these sports. And the sport of wheelchair team handball we combine manual chairs and power chair users, and in wheelchair basketball we go to the manual chair users. And then wheelchair football we combine, again, the power chair users with the manual chair users. So this is very effective of getting the majority of your students in your schools and school districts involved in interscholastic athletic programs. We also offer a junior varsity and varsity division for the teams to compete in regular and post-season competition in each of the sport seasons. To give you another example of how we work with states, we were formed in Atlanta in 1996, and shortly thereafter, 2001, we formed a partnership with the Georgia high school association, and this partnership is an alliance we refer to in working to improve the well-being of students with physical disabilities by providing interscholastic adapted athletics and championship events throughout the school year. Parents are very, very pleased with the program. The kids are very engaged and very active. They report they have the opportunity now to play sports that they -- their children otherwise would never have. The ability to work hard, participate in the group, set goals, and excel in sports. They''ve increased motivation to get good grades and improved academics. We''ve seen this across the board. Actually, we have a no pass/no play policy. If students, including regular education, if they are in special education, they have to be on track for their IEP goal. They gain tremendous respect and consideration for others, and they''re forming active engagement, active friendship with other students, mentors, and coaches. So this has been a very successful program here in the state. We are beginning to work with other school districts and state high school associations across the country to help their schools begin to offer these programs for their students with physical disabilities. In addition, we''ve developed policies and procedures to help eliminate barriers to participation for schools and school districts to take part. And one of the strategies that we implemented -- and many of you will know this already if you work in this area of sport development -- there often are not enough children with physical disabilities in any one school to form a team. And so we''ve developed policies that allow for district teams to be formed within a school district. So the teams are formed either in the JV or varsity division. They come to a centralized school venue for their practices and their games. And this is very effective way of combining the school population to form teams. You also may have areas of the state that are more rural, and if that''s the case, then we work with multiple school districts so they are able to form a cooperative or several school teams. These programs are available for students in elementary, middle, and high school. They are co-ed, and all the kids play together on one team. So again, we offer one sanctioned sport per season. Then we also, in addition to working with the Georgia High School Association, offer inclusive events. Here''s an example of work we are doing through our Alliance, to include wheelchair track & field events with the Georgia high school association track & field program this is at the state GHSA meet. Students participate in the 200 meter, 800 meter, or shot put event this time. So these are students that are practicing and competing on their high school track & field team, and then they go on to the state meet if they qualify. Our organization provides the training for the GHSA coaches so students can take part in these programs. In addition, we work with GHSA wheelchair basketball. Our teams, after competing in a ten-week season, the varsity teams advance to the semifinal round, and then the two teams that are vying for the varsity championship compete at the GHSA state finals alongside and in conjunction with the boys and girls finals in the same arena. And the game is televised on all the Georgia public broadcast stations here in the state. So this is tremendous awareness for these students because we found that, you know, people really need to understand that these kids want to compete. They are athletic. And with the proper structure, training, and curriculum and offering, it''s really no different than any other sport that''s being offered. So now I''m going to turn it over to Tommie, who is going to share additional information on our resources and other components of our program that we hope you will find helpful.
Hi, everyone, and thank you again for joining us today. Some of the resources that we''ve been able to put together -- in fact, found were essential in sort of creating standardization across the board. What we found is where there was some opportunity, as has been mentioned before, what was found in the GAO study, is there were pockets of opportunity. And real visionaries, people who were working very hard to create those opportunities in their school system. But we still were playing, for example, football at a different time of year under a different set of rules instead of all sort of being together. The other positive, beyond sort of creating standards where we could begin to look at also our outcomes for these students and tweak our programs, continue to move forward to have them be healthier and as well as performing well in school, was that we found where we were cooperating together, we were able to bring our costs down. We were more attractive to grantors, to those who were sponsoring. It was much easier to get a sponsor to sponsor ten programs across a state or 15 than a single program. So membership became something that we looked at right away. And also a way that we communicate with each other. We have coaches who are on technical committees wherever we''re working. Our membership drives what we do and how we do it. We look at rules, what worked, what didn''t work, and a lot of this has come about from best practices over the 15 years. Training we also offer for coaches, officials, coordinators, and administrators, which Bev touched on. Everybody goes through the same understanding of what''s expected of a coach. Parents get to cheer and have fun. Kids get to be involved at a regular basis. They see real health benefits. Coaches get to genuinely coach, have officials who are well trained, coordinators who are working with the school district to help recruit kids, get information to teachers throughout the system, and administrators who are understanding how they can support this program. And again, look to their own successes with reductions in hospitalizations, reductions in those who are missing school for absenteeism, they have a reason to be at school. And even parents who tell us that in working closely with their school administrators, they appreciate having something to sort of hold over their children''s head, if you will. Those of us who have children understand that. You don''t get to go to practice this week if those grades aren''t up. And of course, Bev mentioned our no pass/no play policy. We have media and publications, which include our rule books, manuals, videos. Some of our coaches in other states do train online with us, especially with some of our track and field information. We provide posters to school systems. They are for each season. Those go up in the schools, coaches have them, they are in the PE classroom, and the child with a disability begins to see that he or she is important and they are included in this thing called health and sports. We have brochures that are available. Parents often use these. They go outside of the school system to other community groups within the school district to encourage them to be involved. We have handbooks for parents and teachers which clearly define what best practices they can be undertaking to continue to have everyone be on the same page and moving toward the same goalpost, which is great outcomes for these kids. And there are teaching guides available also at our website. A lot of PE teachers say how can I support the adapted sports program? I have some of these children in my mainstream class now. So these guys are on wheel chairs still, on ball handling, for those who may have a disability in some other form. We also realized over a decade ago that building some of the equipment that needed to be provided in these programs, building it ourselves, was not very practical. And because the movement had not grown to the extent that you could walk into, you know, Dick''s Sporting Goods and buy -- I''m here for wheelchair basketball. What''s everything I need? We developed what are called equipment kits from Flaghouse out of New Jersey. Many of you are probably familiar with them. We will continue to develop products with them, but we already have our handball kit with them. Its also called indoor wheelchair soccer. (Muffled audio) We use wheelchair handball. Of course, our rules are modified slightly for school-aged children. But the kids come in roll-in bags. They''re portable. They store inside of your PE classroom or wherever. They don''t mix in with other equipment. This has been very, very helpful. Early on was something that our coaches asked that we look to do. And of course, we consult with school systems and with high school associations, and we actually have a service guide that just outlines the kinds of things that we can help with, and some of that just in consultation, in webinars like this, and sometimes one on one. Some of the best practices that we found work that we would encourage anyone who is considering this sort of undertaking and finding if they have the kids to do it should undertake are some of the following. We start with a simple needs assessment, and that is literally just looking at do we have the children? If we have them, where are they within our school district? And if there are not enough in our school district, as Bev mentioned earlier, then what about over in some of the other districts? We have, in Georgia, a couple of programs that are sort of regional, which include the West Georgia Wolverines. They are at the housed at the Roosevelt Warm Spring Institute. They are sponsored primarily by the Meriwether County School District. It''s a very rural area in Greenville, Georgia, but all of them live within about 50 miles of each other, and Warm Spring Institute happens to be right in the center of that. The Placement of your program and finding that principal who says we want that program, we want to host it in our district. Whether they do it per season or, indeed, most of our schools say we want to be the site, the home, because kids do come from several school districts. We -- so that''s part of the needs assessment that should be performed. And then beginning to have those discussions, and we can help with that. State and area coordinators, we have found, are essential. While as in Georgia performs the role of the state coordinator. Outside of Georgia, we work with coordinators and those inside high school associations who, again, are helping to manage our model down into the school systems all the way to the coaches, kids, and parents. It''s essential that the special ed department and the athletics department begin a conversation. And we have been having these conversations and brokering these conversations for about 15 years. And what we find is when athletics understands the role of special education and, indeed, some of the limitations that they face and what they have and haven''t been able to do, vice versa across the table, there is a real synergy that begins to happen. Many of our programs, the costs are shared between athletics and special education. We believe in local control. In fact, we think it''s essential. It''s your school, your school program. You get to decide the best way that you are going to structure it within the department. But we can help guide you to some of the ways that other schools have done it. Our home gym I already mentioned. It''s essential to find a principal or someone willing to host this kind of program. Then next we talk about sharing costs between schools within a school district or, indeed, a state as we do here in Georgia. Community partnership is also something that has been very helpful. An example of that would be a program that we have had for many years in Columbia County, Georgia, the local bank association said whatever they need, we will pay for it in equipment and wheelchairs. The parks and rec department said we want to help pay some of the fee for association fees and for uniforms. And when you need a venue, we would like to offer ours. And the school system provided transportation. And of course, the coaches. It looks a little different depending on your community, but understand that community partnerships can be a essential part of everyone being a part of something really wonderful and empowering our young people. We recommend that transportation, if provided, is provided on an as-needed basis and that there be parent involvement in that. Transportation can be the more expensive part of this program, and where parents can transport or, indeed, athletes drive, that is an important thing to encourage people to do. When parents understand that transportation can be one of the hurdles and that we are more likely to have more teams and more participation if we keep costs down, they are very much involved in helping to make those things happen. West Georgia, again, I''ll bring them up, the local fire department and someone else got together and actually purchased a vehicle for them to move all of their equipment. The school no longer needed to have wheelchair equipment on the bus. That''s been a tremendous help to them. Last on the best practices, it''s just create an inclusive environment where you are encouraging kids to come out. A lot of kids, frankly -- some of you in PE know this -- don''t realize what they can do. Girls, a lot of girls don''t realize how athletic they could be before Title IX and some of the things brought to bear, encouraged them to come out and show them that they could be athletically inclined and involved. And the same situation (Inaudible) with disabilities that encouragement. We have cheerleaders who are able bodied who come out and cheer for teams, extremely inclusive environment. Some of our athletes who have disabilities are on the cheerleading squad for the state tournament that is broadcast in Georgia. Our school systems vie for the honor of cheering for that particular district team, that is the cheerleaders for that district. Our newspapers in Georgia, in Florida where we''re working, and elsewhere published sports. They announce in the school, all of these are important things to have everybody onboard and part of that process. Just very quickly, this may -- this certainly may change from state to state or program to program, but in our state, in Georgia, from last year''s numbers, this is sort of what it looked like. 949 student athletes with physical disabilities participating in one or more adapted sport. And 92 schools representing about 22 school districts offering adapted sports through the AAASP/GSHA alliance. A little more boys participating than girls. More on just promoting the benefits and getting people in your school system involved. We find that grades do improve. Again, parents say their depression has gone down. There''s more socialization. They''re excited to be involved in something. We find more interaction between teachers and special ed directors and parents than we have ever before. They stand together. The IEP discussions sort of began at the championship, and wow, look what we can do. Let''s look at that. Let''s look at more of how we can encourage him because he or she is growing so much in a certain direction. So here are some of the benefits. Improved health, higher grades. Reduced Absences. Increase socialization. Inclusive schools as we talked about as we talked about. And ease of compliance because we are all working together. A district-wide cost sharing, community support, parental involvement, and cross-curriculum training. That goes back to am so of the teaching guides -- back to some of the teaching guides, where PE teachers are coming out, looking at the adapted sports program, and we are beginning to have that conversation between coaches and teachers and how we can look at an individual plan for some students, what would be very helpful for them to reinforce their PE class. And then this is our last slide, which is the same slide you''ll notice that Terri ended with. So we still need to define policies in our schools. Schools continue to look at that, how do we do the individual assessments? We do ours -- at this point, our area coordinators are so well trained, they do their own assessment. That''s how we do it, top down. And then Georgia High School association, Florida High School Association, others who work with us, they''ve adopted our guidelines and look to us as handling that part of eligibility. And then the creation of model adaptive sports programs. And more education and awareness building. We hope that''s what this seminar, webinar, has done for you today. And our personal thanks from AAASP to Jessica Madrigal and everyone in the ADA network for giving us this opportunity.
Great. Thank you, Tommie, and to everyone else on our panel today. I would like now for the operator to please open it up and give us some instructions for how to ask questions via the telephone line.
Thank you, Jessica. At this time, if you have a question, please press star then 1 on your touchtone telephone. If your question has been answered and you wish to remove yourself from the queue, you may do so by pressing the pound sign. Again, if you have a question, please press star then 1 on your touchtone telephone. One moment while we wait for callers to queue.
And for those of you who are in the webinar room, please continue to submit those questions via our chat feature. I have been receiving those, trying to respond to those of you who are submitting them as fast as I can to let you know that we''ve got it on the list. But continue to submit those, and we will keep adding those and addressing those as we go through our question-and-answer period. Do we have anyone on the phone?
Yes, ma''am. Our first question comes from the line of Anita Moorman. Your line is open.
Hello. This is for Bev, and possibly Tommie as well. Bev, you mentioned that the wheelchair track & field was part of the main state high school championship. How is your organization differentiated between the sports that your organization provides, the team handball, basketball, and your success in getting the track and field included as part of the state high school program? And is there a process that you''d recommend?
Thanks, Anita, for your question. You know, it really is dependent on what the state high school association has deemed to be the best practice for their association. The track & field, the integration of events into their program was something that they felt that they could do without changing their constitution and bylaws. It''s really just adding another event to what they''re already doing. And so we helped them understand how that was possible. The other sports, wheelchair team handball and wheelchair football, and, actually, wheelchair basketball, has remained under our sanctioning in partnership with them because we are -- the Georgia high school association, under their current constitution and bylaws, does not allow for teams to be formed by school district. All of their teams are formed by -- within a particular high school. In addition, I think as Terri mentioned earlier, some of these kids in special education can stay in school until they''re 21 or 22 if they''re receiving a special education certificate. And if they''re involved in a GHSA program or state high school association program, their rules say that once they turn 18, they become ineligibility. So with those kids, as long as they are still enrolled in 12th grade, regardless if they are over that age of 18, can remain in the program. And so we just want to do this in cooperation where it''s still the school''s program. They''re housed in the athletic departments and the schools. And they function in a very, very similar and equitable manner. So the governance and oversight for the adapted programs really falls to us to provide that expertise and guidance. We''re even offering some reasonable accommodations within the adapted sports programs. I will give you an example. In wheelchair football, we had students that participate in these programs, had a stroke, hemiplegic. One of the rules we have is two-hand touch. Of course, if you are hemiplegic, you can only use one arm. We''ve made reasonable accommodations that that is a legal tackle, a one-hand tackle. As was mentioned earlier, swimming, the one-hand touch rule if you have an amputation. So we look to work in partnership in as close align as possible so these are athletic programs that are added to a state structure that works in the best interest of the current organizational makeup of that state high school association. Now, some other states may choose to do it differently and actually adopt these right under their own high school association, and certainly they can if they would like to do that. We have a mechanism for working with them in the consultation area or partnership agreement at that point.
You are welcome.
Again, if you have a question, please press star then 1 on your touchtone telephone. One moment.
Great. So let''s go and take a question from the chat room. We have a lot of those coming in. Many people asking about the provision of equipment, such as basketball or track wheelchairs, and wanting to know from your experience have the high school associations been providing that equipment, and are they required to provide that equipment to the student athletes?
This is Pauline. In Georgia and Florida, and I guess Kentucky too -- the answer is yes, sometimes. We still look at where the resources are. We involve very early on either directly through the high school association or directly with our state legislature and leaders in education at the Department of Education at the state level what are reasonable modifications and assistive equipment. In many cases, it is found reasonable, for example, to buy three wheelchairs per team. Some of the athletes are going to come with a wheelchair of their own. Some are going to be donated. But generally, if we buy just three per team, we find that it works out very well. We buy in bulk, so whether we go with color chairs or eagle sport chairs or quickie chairs or whomever we are working with, we buy in bulk, and we -- because we''re all moving as one vehicle against lots of school districts, not just one, then it was easier to get the attention of the high school association and, in our case, often state government or local foundations. We have had wheelchairs purchased by the Jim Moore foundations, falcons Foundation, the Payton Anderson foundation. We had assistance from the U.S. Paralympics, of course, back years ago. And we have assistance from the wheelchair manufacturers themselves. So the answer is we''ve not had to cross that bridge to put down a sort of ADA hammer and say you must and if you don''t this will happen. It''s been more here are the needs we know we have. We have many people around the table who can help us with that need and I will be honest to tell you in 15 years we have not had someone who has come forward. We have just not had to have those unpleasant conversations.
Great. Thank you for sharing that experience with us. Nova, can we go to the phones and see if we have any questions there?
We have no questions, thank you. But if you --
Great. Sorry to cut you off. What were you going to say, Nova?
I was just going to give the instructions once more.
Thank you. Go ahead.
If you''d like to ask a question, please press star then 1 on your touchtone telephone.
Thank you. Another question that we''re getting in the chat room and one that we have gotten oftentimes through the ADA National Network technical assistance line, can someone talk about team points for wheelchair events, such as track & field, you know, are they awarding points? Are they required to award points? And if you could talk about the experience with that for our attendees, that would be great.
This is Bev. I can talk about how the Georgia High School Association is doing this, so the wheelchair track and field events that they''ve added to their program. They have added a wheelchair track & field -- they''ve added the wheelchair track & field events, as I mentioned, but they''ve also added a wheelchair track & field division. So it''s a similar concept of the classifications or the divisions they have within the school makeup, where they have class 1, class 2, class 3, on up to I think 8 classes, and that''s based on the population of the school. So they''ve added, based on those classifications, they''ve added a wheelchair track & field classification to their existing program within. Within that division, yes, points are awarded, and even a championship trophy is awarded within that division at the state event. And Terri Lakowski, I''m not sure if you know of other states or how they may be doing it, but that is how we are doing it here in Georgia.
This is Terri Lakowski. I can chime in on the aspect of the legal requirement, and that really comes under the category of equal treatment and benefits as or athletes. So being recognized as a point-scoring member of the team is a benefit for almost every athlete. Some states have different policies for getting to a threshold where an event has enough participants where they can award points. But for students with disabilities, they have to have a defined process in place that allows students with disabilities to earn points in a matter comparable to athletes without disabilities.
Great. Thank you for the answer to that question. I''ll take another question from the chat room before we move back to the phones to see if anyone on the phone has further questions. Another popular topic is interpreters. So one of our webinar platform attendees writes: ASL interpreters have been faced with resistance from referees when trying to ensure that they have the flexibility to position themselves in a way that allows them to be visible to a deaf student without impacting game play. And this person would like us to provide some guidance for interpreters when they have referees telling them that they have to sit on the bench during the game. How can those interpreters effectively communicate with school staff in order to make sure that they''re being used properly?
This is Tommie. I just want to say that in all of the situations that our officials -- we, again, because we''re a membership, those concerns are brought forward to -- through the school districts. The coaches look at it. And the officials, who also communicate through our committees, look at it. It is added that particular issue to our training. So when we train a coach, we talk about site lines. We talk about accommodations they''ll need to make. And again, we''re still looking at, even within the adapted program, being safe for the interpreter, being safe for the officials and the participants, and how to work together. We do individual assessment of kids within our program, obviously, so it may also be getting with the actual athletes and the interpreter and doing a little bit of practice just so the interpreter can kind of almost, you know, become very agile themselves. We understand there needs to be a line of sight. It is education. It comes down to bringing it forward, having a system as we do through our organizational, way that we''ve set up our programs. That input gets to the people who need to hear it, and that training comes forward so that those issues can be addressed.
Jessica, this is Bev. I might add as well a little more segue into what Tommy was saying. If there is someone the interpreter can go to, to bring these issues forward, as Tom is mentioning, then we would recommend that. If there is athletic director or administrator or head of the officials association, that they can take their issue to, and as Tommie said, educate them to it and discuss the guidelines and why this is important and that this is a reasonable accommodation, perhaps that would be helpful.
Great. Thank you. Another follow-up I''ve gotten through the chat regarding sign language interpreters in particular, one of our participants wants to know who is responsible for paying for the interpreter if it''s necessary, and if the school is saying that they will provide that during games or team events, does that also include practices?
This is Terri Lakowski. If the interpreter is deemed part of the reasonable accommodation that''s needed to include the student disability effectively into the athletic program, then the burden of paying for that service would be on the school.
And the second part of the question was if that sign language interpreter would also be provided for team practices or other things that the team might be participating in that aren''t necessarily games or events.
Oh, I''m sorry, I missed that part of it. Definitely I would say that practice and games are part of your athletic experience. If they are deemed that an interpreter is necessary, that would encompass practice and game play, as well as your post-meetings, pre-meetings, that type of activity. I think where it becomes a little grayer and where the definition of reasonableness can vary is when you''re talking about other team events. So if the team decided to go to a movie or, you know, out to the mall, probably not. If it''s a team-sponsored activity sponsored and sanctioned by the schools, a team attends a pep rally or the team is going as a team to do community service, or sanctioned by the school event, I would interpret the guidance to suggest that an interpreter would also be also required to attend those activities and be paid for as well by the school.
Great. Thank you. Nova, can we check in on the phones?
Thank you. We have a follow-up question from Anita Moorman. Your line is open.
Thanks. This might be for Bev again. I thought, Bev, that you mentioned that you might have a list of around 25 different disabilities that students participating in your programs have. Number one, I was curious whether or not you have that list or that description available. Then secondly, my question for everybody, Tommie and you, is whether obesity is something that is on that list or that you are seeing something that is being requested in terms of an accommodation?
Hey, Anita. It''s Bev again. I can certainly send you that list. Where we get this information, we have a data collection form that all of our school district member teams complete at the end of each season, and on that form we collect data such as what grade they are in, gender, school they attend, the school district, the disability, et cetera, et cetera. And so that''s where we get those numbers from. You''ll know the typical -- or not typical, but the disabilities we hear more often, the students with cerebral palsy or spina bifida, muscular atrophy, things I mentioned earlier. I would be happy to send you that list so you have a better idea of what we are looking at and students that we are serving. And the second part of that, the obesity question, we''ve not really had any requests directly to our programs on obesity. It''s been -- our student eligibility is more geared toward those students with orthopedic impairments or physical disabilities. I''m not sure if Terri could address that or not or if she''s encountered any of those requests.
I''m sorry, just chime in here real quick. In terms of the obesity, that is not a defined disability. So disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life function. Now, if you are obese and it causes such an impairment, so you might develop a heart murmur or other orthopedic impairment as a result of the obese condition, then that development, like the heart murmur itself or your mobility that becomes impaired, could then meet the definition of disability and qualify for service and coverage under the Rehab Act or ADA. But the obesity itself would not constitute a disability.
Thank you for that, Terri. This is Tommie. I would agree with you on that. We do, however -- and it should be noted -- find that especially students with orthopedic impairments, physical disabilities, tend to be overweight due to a lack of regular opportunity or appropriate opportunity to be physically fit. The use of the wheelchair as an aerobic device in and of itself is very helpful and something we have to talk to parents about because we do get push-back. And there is some video on our website right now, a parent talking about this very thing. He was concerned about his son, concerned about weight gain, concerned about his not being able to be active, but was put off by the thought of using a wheelchair. So when the wheelchair is very clearly, from the beginning, defined as a tool for getting fit, just as we have sled hockey, so you use a sled. We have bicycle races, you use a bicycle. It''s really no different. But obesity is a concern. It is not a defined disability within itself.
Could I ask a follow-up to that?
So if a student who did not have one of the defined disabilities but was obese wanted to participate in one of your wheelchair programs, would they be permitted to?
Well, I think Terri has answered the question. If they have a -- if they are physically limited due to their obesity and it has led to a defined disability, then certainly they fit within our guidelines. Otherwise, you know, it fits within our eligibility if they have a disability.
Okay. Thank you.
Great. Thank you. We are going to move on to another question that we''ve gotten through our chat feature in the webinar room. We have someone who is asking if you have any examples of what is considered an administrative burden.
I''d be happy to answer that because it really goes to how AAASP got created. There is a huge administrative burden on any -- ask any parent or any visionary who may be on the phone now who has tried to run a sport program all by themselves with very little support, no infrastructure to feed within, no training or so many different opportunities, trying to raise the money, trying to -- you know, school districts face similar things when it''s just that school district. Now, it would be different if it''s Gwinnett County, Atlanta city schools, the larger school districts in large metro areas, but the tiny little school district out in the rural area, just to run that one program and try and pull everyone together can be very difficult and it can pose a difficult administrative burden. It can also pose a cost burden. So we have found that by cooperating with other districts, having a plan across your state or across several districts, not just singularly -- unless, of course, you are, again, Dallas, a very big school district, those administrative burdens tend to fall away because now it''s coming up under your high school association and through the adapted sports program, and the administration is being handled just as it is for anyone else. The problem is we have been trying to create systems where they did not exist rather than piggybacking on being a part inclusively of our athletic systems that exist. I''m not sure that answers your question, but that''s how I would answer the question is it takes being part of the administration systems that have already been set up. That is so important, and it''s something that we have really advocated for that we believe this guidance is going to lead to.
Great. Thank you for sharing that information with us. And I would like to remind all of our listeners and our participants today, if you have specific questions that you would like to go over, you know, we often reply with it''s always a case-by-case analysis. You are always welcome to call your ADA National Network Regional Center. We are there to talk about those case-by-case situations and talk about the different laws with you. You can reach us at 800-949-4232, and also, if there are additional questions at the end that we don''t make it to, we''d be happy to address those individually. Nova, can we check the phones again to see if we have anyone on the phone line that has a question?
Again, if you have a question, please press star then 1 on your touchtone telephone. One moment. I am showing no further questions at this time.
Okay. Thanks for the update. We''ll move on to another question from our chat room, and we have someone who is asking, with the new guidance from the Office of Civil Rights, do school systems have a legal obligation to provide transportation for students with disabilities to watch an athletic event? So for this one, it doesn''t sound like the person is a participant, but a student with a disability who needs transportation to travel to an athletic event?
This is Terri. That''s actually a great question, something that comes up quite often. The guidance itself does not address this factor because the guidance is really specific for the participant in the athletic program. So certainly, if transportation is provided to other athletes who don''t have disabilities as part of their athletic experience, they would have to provide transportation to athletes with disabilities. Now, the ADA and the Rehab Act are much broader than just talking about athletics in terms of ensuring that students with disabilities are treated equally in the school system. So this type of question would fall under kind of the non-athletic components of the law. To the extent the school is providing transportation for other students to watch athletic events, then they would have a legal obligation to provide them for students with disabilities. So for example, if the whole school gets off early and is shuttling down is to the state basketball championship meet and the school is providing buses and transportation for all the students, they would have to ensure that they have accommodations made for those students with disabilities could participate in the program. Now, if they''re not providing transportation but they are closing school early and people are taking their own cars and getting down to watch the basketball championship, then they would not have to provide them for students with disabilities.
Terri, this is Tommie. I just wanted to say I believe, too, that it''s -- in the way we have it and our school systems have it -- is it''s been determined that athletic participation is not a right. It is a privilege. But where that privilege is extended to those without a disability, it must be extended equitably to those who have a disability. And that''s the bottom line of, I believe, what you''re saying. If they''re transporting kids without disabilities to an event, yes, of course, those with disabilities should be transported. But if they''re not, then the answer is no. For the person with a disability as well.
Great. Thank you, both of you, for your feedback on that question. And we''ve gotten a few questions asking specifically about the resources that Tommie spoke about. Tommie, you had mentioned that you had a membership opportunity, and people would like some clarification. Is this only for people that are in your state? Is this open nationally? And that also goes for the other resources you mentioned that you guys have put together, your media and publications. Can you talk a little bit about how people can get connected with that and how they can receive that information?
I''d be happy to. I''ll let Bev chairman in on this as well. Our membership in let''s say the fully implemented model are the school districts who are participating in our team sports. It is structured exactly as high school athletic associations are structured. There is an association fee that is paid, and that fee goes to help drive the program. In the case of those who are outside of Georgia, there are a couple -- or outside of Florida, Georgia, and some of the other states where we are putting this in place -- I would say that those conversations have to take place -- because again, we believe in local control. Your membership may look different if you''re, say, the state of Texas, and we''re implementing there, than it does somewhere else. I''ll just give you one example. Most of you know that Minnesota has a fairly well-developed active sports infrastructure, and we have worked with them, sort of as peer to peer, advised each other over the years. But what Minnesota did was they got together with the state legislature, decided to actually fund their state programs through -- whether you do it through a trust fund or fee per school. I think they did $125 per school. And it created the funding that was needed that drove everything for the program. In Georgia, we do it a little bit differently than in Florida. In Georgia, association fees makes you a member, and therefore, everything else becomes free. None of our coaches pay for training, for the rule books, for anything because it''s all provided through the association fee. Outside of Georgia, we are looking at ways to become members. That would start with a conversation because what we want is that there be cooperation and that it helps to drive your cost, not just the membership fee to us, but helps to drive your cost. Because we''re about empowering people to fish, not just sort of feeding them. But we want to help you set up your structure so that you are able to get your program off the ground and actually have it funded in your state as well. Yes, membership fee will come to us. That starts with a conversation with you and how many programs we might be talking about helping you get started, within a district or several districts.
Tommie, this is Bev. I would add, Jessica, just a little more to what Tommie is saying. But yes, our membership is open nationally, not just here in the state, to school districts and state high school associations, and as Tommie said, that would be a conversation we would have with those individual districts or state high school associations around the structure and how that would look. The resources are available nationally as well. Those are available on our website. We also have a way for people to contact us on our website. It''s adaptedsports.org. Under contact, we have a comments section that people can fill out if they wanted information on membership or to begin the dialogue about how that might be structured. We''d be happy to work with them and meet with them and have those conversations moving forward to get the schools up to speed on providing these programs for their students with disabilities.
Great. Thank you for sharing that. Nova, can we check in on the phones?
Thank you. We have no questions in queue at this time.
Thank you for the update. We will go to another question from our chat room. One person mentions that many schools aren''t very familiar with what their obligations are under the law. And they would like to know if schools can refer people with disabilities to different community based sports programs that may be provided in lieu of providing them at the school itself?
The key part of that question, Jessica, you just said, was in lieu of providing them at the school level, and that is what makes the answer to this question no. So schools have an obligation to provide programs for students with disabilities in the mainstream setting for sure, and then under certain circumstances, in the adapted setting. They cannot, instead of providing them with the school, refer them to community providers. The community providers play a critical role in supporting the school and helping them develop the appropriate infrastructure to ensure they can have these programs for students with disabilities, so there is a role for the community providers as partners, as trainers, as support services, but it does not replace or eliminate the obligation of the school to provide those programs themselves for the kids with disabilities.
Great. Thanks for that very comprehensive answer. A follow-up to that, something similar that came through. Many schools seem like they may be worried that someone using some type of mobility equipment, such as a wheelchair or crutches, might damage the playing surfaces or damage the facilities using equipment. Can someone address what the correct answer to reply to that school official and say would be under the guidance?
Sure. This is Terri. This goes back to the individualized assessment. That''s the key. Over and over again, if you get questions, they have to conduct an individualized assessment. They cannot rely upon stereotypes or assumptions. So they have to look. Does the equipment being used damage the playing surfaces? You know, is it likely to cause problems? Is it likely to be unsafe? And if it is, is there something else they can use so they still have the opportunity to participate? That''s what the guidance requires.
Terri, I would add too that these are questions that come up a lot, and they are good questions. It''s good for folks to know that wheelchairs, sport wheelchairs in particular is what we are talking about, they don''t scuff a gym floor in more than a tennis shoe would. We''ve come a long way in the development of wheelchairs and sporting equipment for those with disabilities. And we have questions like do I need to enlarge the lanes on the track? Actually, the track is the exact same size. The distance is the same. So these are good questions, and we''re glad when they get asked, but to say, again, more or less what you said, Terri, just thinking that it might be a problem is really not going to cut it because, I mean, we''ve had coaches who have been very, very concerned about their gym floor, and we''ve played a whole game, you know, of everybody playing, the whole thing, and they are like, you know what? It really didn''t harm anything.
This is Eli. I just wanted to also share remarks on this question. I think one of the significant aspects of this guidance is that it represents a major paradigm shift in terms of how we approach these questions. I think the guidance now and this educational framework allows us to go into it from a place of inclusion rather than exclusion and to see it from a value of, you know, persons with disabilities having that opportunity. So I think that part of the process of education and the rollout of understanding people with disabilities and opportunities in schools is to recognize, you know what? People with disabilities bring and to learn about the equipment and to learn about the people. So again, coming from a place of inclusion, I think, is very important. I think that''s what''s so significant about this guidance and that''s why it''s very landmark in that way.
I will just add one additional thing, back to our training for officials. Our officials look at, along with our coaches, each chair or each device being used in one of our adapted sports before game time. Sharp edges, loose equipment, loose straps, you know, how high the wheels are, everything is looked at. This is part of the training. And it makes our school system better, makes our coaches feel better, and makes the parents feel very good, that we are always looking at equipment. That''s part of sports. You check the equipment before you hit the field or court, and our officials are involved in that, making sure it happens, double-checking our coaches and our kids.
Thanks, everyone. Nova, do we have anyone on the phone line?
We have no questions, thank you.
Okay. Just checking. We''ll move on to some more chat. We have about five minutes left. Going to try to get to as many questions as we can. We''ve had a few different people ask about specific sport programs, wanting to know first, is there a place where parents or students or schools can go to to find a local program to maybe start a partnership with at the school level? And also, are there resources for specific sports to guide coaches or teachers in how to facilitate the adapted versions of those?
This is Tommie again. When we started 15 years ago, 16 years ago now, we were asking the same question. Who has the programs? Who has the training? Where do we start? That''s where most everyone is now after this guidance. Where do we start? Even in speaking with a friend in Alaska the other day, he was saying, you know, we began with something, and we found we kind of had to adapt as we went along. Part of it is within a school system, working within those administrations, that requires some adaptation. And combining so many disabilities because you want to have a pool of kids that involves some thought and adaptation. So where do you find that? We find that there are many great programs across the country, many that exist at the paralympic level and community level. But again, there''s not necessarily standardization across the board. So while you may find a good sport, you may incorporate it within your school system, you may even adopt it across the board, you know, those are things that are going to have to be looked at to make sure that everyone''s involved, as many disabilities as possible are involved. That''s how the adapted sports came about with our organization, and they are not static. In other words, the rules exist, eligibility exists, it''s all official, and all these things have been looked at. Just doing it on your own or working with a community, again, to find a sport, those are some of the things that may need to be looked at. I don''t know of a single source where you can go and see all of the communities and find exactly where there might be an opportunity. I know for many years NCHPAD was collecting and creating a database, and it was very helpful to parents in finding some opportunity. So I really -- beyond that, I couldn''t speak to that, but just to say that that''s another reason why we formed AAASP, so there would be a single place to go and be able to find a sport and know you are doing it like Minnesota, like Florida, like California, and it''s all very standardized, and everyone is feeding into the membership to continue to improve and down the road even add additional sports, expand more opportunity as the movement grows.
Great. Thank you for that response. Nova, can we check the phones one last time? We''re moving towards the end of our time but want to give our phone participants one last chance. Be
Thank you. Again, if you have a question, please press star then 1 on your touchtone telephone. One moment. And we have no further questions in queue.
Okay. Thank you for checking for us, Nova. I know there are many questions that we were not able to get to today through the chat room and through email. I would like to thank everyone for submitting those and for participating with us today. We are getting close to the bottom of our time here, and we do want to make sure that we are being respectful of everyone''s time. If you do have questions that you chatted or emailed, in your PowerPoint handout, you have access to the PDF and rich text version. There is contact information for each of our speakers today, with telephone numbers and email addresses. Refer to that, please, to contact them with any follow-up. Again, we would like to offer the services as well as the ADA National Network to answer any of your questions using our toll-free number of 800-949-4232. This concludes our session. We would, again, like to thank you for participating. We have not yet announced our topic for our next audio conference. That will be announced on our website soon. The next audio conference session will be taking place May 21. You can register for that and learn more once we announce that at www.ADA-audio.org. That is also the location that you can visit to access the archive of this session, as well as any of the presentation materials that you would like to download for other colleagues that may be interested in the topic. We do make the archive available as soon as we have had a chance to go through and edit the transcript. We make that available for this session as well. You can always call us at 877-232-1990 with any questions about our ADA Audio Conference Series. And with that, I would just like to thank you again and to exit the system, please press the red X in the top right of your screen. And you can disconnect from the telephone line now. Again, thank you to our speakers, and everyone have a lovely afternoon.
Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes today''s conference. Thank you for your participation, and have a wonderful day. You may now disconnect.