Ability Olympics at JMU April 25-26

Dear Families,

 We want to share an exciting upcoming event called Ability Olympics – where EVERYONE can be an Athlete! The event is for individuals with any disabilities ages 8-22. The mission is to empower individuals by giving them the chance to compete and learn in a challenging and successful athletic environment. During this event, participants will have opportunities to sign up/compete in three different activity sessions showcasing a variety of activities. Participants get an opportunity to experience life of an athlete. In addition, participants will get an opportunity to try sports/activities that peak their interest, but possibly have never tried. Each participant will be assigned a one on one mentor who will support him or her and their family throughout the day (i.e. during each event) and become his or her biggest fan! Sibling events and kids zone for young children also available.

 The event is April 25-26th and kicks off Friday night with a social dance/meet and greet event. Families, participants, JMU students, and other volunteers will interact/get to know one another. Disability organizations will be present to share information, products, and resources.

 Saturday’s all day event highlights sport opportunities for all different levels and abilities. Conducting sessions by classification or individual heats accommodates a wide range of involvement and ability. The list below provides examples of the activities that will be offered.

Aquatics and Track/Field Events (competing by classification: Orthopedic; Autism/Intellectual; and Learning/Hearing/Emotional Disabilities)

Basketball (Wheelchair basketball and 2 v 2)

Baseball/Softball (Beep Baseball, Traditional, and Modified)

Archery, Golf, Bocce, Tennis, Goal Ball, Judo

Numerous exhibitions (self defense, yoga/pilates, canoeing/kayaking, hand cycles, etc.)

The event is FREE OF CHARGE. Donations accepted to JMU Foundation – Empowerment3 to support additional outreach events and future Ability Olympics

If you are interested in registering/attending or learning more the event, contact Katie Chapman at abilityolympicsjmu@gmail.com. We are also asking for your help in sharing this event with others across state or mid-Atlantic region as we hope to EMPOWER many individuals with disabilities through this event and let them know that ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE! Please RSVP by Monday, April 21st.


Ability Olympics – Where EVERYONE can be an Athlete!



5:30 – 6:00 – Arrival (Convo)

6:00 – 8:00 – Meet and Greet, Dance and Social (Convo)


9:00-9:30 – Arrive – Breakfast Social (Convo)

9:30-10:00 – Registration

10:00-10:30 – OPENING CEREMONY (Convo)

10:30 – 11:00 – Transition

11:00-12:30 – EVENT 1

Godwin Pool Aquatics Events (Orthopedic)

Godwin Gym Wheelchair Basketball

Godwin Field Archery (ANY)

Godwin Multipurpose Room Dance Expo (ANY)

Combative Room Goal Ball (VI)

Tennis Courts Tennis (LD, HI, ED)

Softball Field Softball (LD, HI, ED)

Convo Track Track/Field (Autism/Intellectual)

12:30-2:00 – Lunch – Picnic (Convo)

2:00 – 3:30 – EVENT 2

Godwin Pool Aquatics Events (Autism/Intellectual)

Godwin Gym 2 v 2 Basketball (ANY)

Godwin Field Bocce (ANY)

Godwin Multipurpose Room Yoga/Pilates Expo (ANY)

Combative Room Judo (Any)

Tennis Courts Wheelchair Tennis/Tennis (Orthopedic)

Softball Field Beep Baseball (VI)

Convo Track Track/Field (LD, HI, ED)

3:30 – 4:00 – Transition to Last Round of Events

4:00 – 5:30 – EVENT 3

Godwin Pool Aquatics Events (LD, HI, ED)

Godwin Gym Power Soccer

Godwin Field Golf (ANY)

Godwin Multipurpose Room Exhibition TBA

Combative Room Exhibition TBA

Tennis Courts Tennis (Autism/Intellectual)

Softball Field Baseball (Autism/Intellectual)

Convo Track Track/Field (Orthopedic)

5:30 – 6:00 – CLOSED CEREMONY (Convo)


Parent to Parent support through AJE

Parent To Parent

The Parent-to-Parent Program provides parents with a supportive network of peers and the skills to advocate effectively for educational and other services for their children and youth. This program offers parents an opportunity to develop leadership skills to offer parents in similar situations with support. Peer supporters are provided a comprehensive parent advocacy training and leadership institute that focuses on educational advocacy, the laws supporting special education and related services, and leadership training.


Understanding the Family Community Experience to Enhance Community Participation for Children Diagnosed with Sensory, Cognitive, and Developmental Disabilities

Please see below on how to participate in some doctoral research:

To whom this may concern,

My name is Alyssa Reiter. I am a doctoral candidate in Occupational Therapy at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, PA. Over the last 2 years I have been a member of the Autism Advisory Committee at the Smithsonian and involved in access programs here in Washington D.C., such as the Morning at the Museum program at The Smithsonian Institution and “Sensory-Friendly” Performances at The Kennedy Center.

I am currently completing my capstone research in collaboration with the Accessibility Departments at both The Smithsonian Institution and The Kennedy Center. This is a study to identify parent perceptions of the physical, social, and cultural challenges you face in participating in community activities with a child with a sensory, cognitive, or developmental disability. In particular, parent perceptions and participation in sensory friendly activities at local museum and theater venues.  In working with and understanding the needs of parents and their children we can create programs that are truly inclusive and accessible to all families no matter the abilities.

Through my research I was hoping to work directly with parents with a school aged (K-12) child diagnosed with a sensory, cognitive, or developmental disability, such as but not limited to Autism, through survey, interview, or focus group.  My colleague, Joshua Taylor, the Autism Specialist in Arlington Public Schools, forwarded me your contact information. I was hoping that you could forward information about my study to parents that may be interested in participating.

My project consists of gathering data through a survey. The online survey will be open until March 31st. The link for the online survey is: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/communityparticipationsurvey1

I am also looking to talk to parents on a more personal level through focus groups or interviews. My schedule is very flexible and I would be willing to accommodate your schedules. I understand that most parents have very busy schedules and time is precious. I will do anything in my power to make participation as convenient and effortless as possible. Please contact me if you are interested in participating in a focus group or interview.

Thank you for your time,


Alyssa N. Reiter, OTS
University of the Sciences
Doctor of Occupational Therapy Candidate ’14
(856) 905-0024

Latest Events from Kids in Action

Kids in Action has a few upcoming events to share.

We will be having a really neat workshop on March 8, 15, 22, and 29 from 10:00-12:00 at HSC.  There will be a child portion and also a PARENT portion.  The kids’ portion is called “I Will” and it will focus on socialization, self-esteem, and self-expression.  The kids will learn an African dance that they will perform for the parents on the last session.

The parent class is called “Parenting on Purpose” and is a really great support group.  Yolonda and Eleanor who previously helped us with the “Move this World” event will help facilitate it.  Please see attached for the flyer- feel free to share within your networks.  This should be a great event!!!

Kids in Action will have YOGA on April 12, 19, and 26 from 10:00-11:00.  It will be at 900 2nd St, NE (near Union Station- and there is free garage parking).  Space is VERY limited for this event- we are limiting it to 10 participants, so please let me know ASAP if you want to participate.  Our yoga instructor is an OT who is fabulous!!!!

For more information, please contact Robyn Winston Cohen , CTRS, 202-557-1851 or rwinston@hospsc.org

Access Peer Group Classes at Imagination Stage

Imagination Stage is excited to announce the spring session classes designed specifically for students with cognitive or developmental disabilities. 

Access Musical Theatre: Scene Into Song for Ages 14-21

Dates: Mondays, 3/3/14-5/12/14 (10-weeks)

Time: 5:00-6:30 p.m.

In this class designed specifically for teens with cognitive or developmental disabilities, students continue to work with musical theatre professionals to develop musicianship skills while learning how to identify and use the clues provided in a song to create sustainable and believable characters and onstage environments. Students increase their self-awareness, creativity, and self-esteem as they work together to clearly communicate a story to their audience through music, movement, and drama. For students aged 14-21; students aged 18-21 must be enrolled in high school or high school equivalent program. Learn more.

Access Puppetry for Grades 5-8

Dates: Mondays, 3/24/14-5/5/14 (6-weeks)

Time: 4:30-6:00 p.m.

In this exciting new class designed specifically for students with cognitive or developmental disabilities, students combine the genres of visual arts and drama to explore basic puppet design, construction, and manipulation. Students increase their creativity, self-esteem, and communication skills while learning how specific visual, vocal, and physical choices create meaning and tell a story to their audience. For students in grades 5-8. Learn more.

Access Hip-Hop Dance for Ages 14-21

Dates: Sundays, 3/16/14-5/4/14 (6-weeks)

Time: 4:30-6:00 p.m.

Get ready to have fun and dance it out! This high-energy class designed for teens with cognitive or developmental disabilities is a fun workout for all students who like to move. Students learn basic hip-hop skills and movement—including isolation and floor work—while learning the basic culture of hip-hop dance. Students then work as a group to apply these techniques to a choreographed piece. No experience necessary; this class is open to anyone who loves to dance! For students aged 14-21; students aged 18-21 must be enrolled in high school or high school equivalent program. Learn more.

To ask any questions and ensure the best experience for your child, contact a member of the Access Department:

Diane Nutting

Director of Access & Inclusion

dnutting@imaginationstage.org | 301-280-1637

Mia Branco

Access & Inclusion Coordinator

mbranco@imaginationstage.org | 301-280-1642

Financial Aide Guide for Students with Disabilities

Take a look!  This is an additional tool for students who are struggling to finance their education. They’ve included over 70 scholarships specifically for students with disabilities, thoroughly explaining eligibility, award amounts, and most importantly, how to apply.