THANK YOU for joining us for the All Ability Tri4Youth 2020 Virtual Challenge!!
By Lucia Alonso
¿Alguna vez ha tenido problemas para participar en una actividad que no era accesible para usted? ¿Ha sentido o visto las lágrimas, la frustración y la tristeza como resultado de esto?
En FACT Oregon, interactuamos con familias todos los días a cuyos hijos se les dice que no pueden participar en actividades, o que pueden pero solo de forma limitada, en un lugar determinado, o si es que no es “demasiado difícil”.
FACT Oregon creó el Triatlón de Todas las Habilidades Tri4Youth para brindar a los jóvenes con y sin discapacidades la oportunidad de competir juntos en un triatlón abierto y accesible para todos. La participación en deportes y recreación en la comunidad son una parte clave para tener una vida plena, para muchas familias. Todos nuestros niños merecen participar de una manera que celebre su esfuerzo, reconozca las barreras y también sus necesidades para que puedan tener éxito.
Lea esta historia de Angie Sims acerca de la experiencia de su hija:
“A menudo es difícil para Ruby participar en deportes o eventos organizados. Le cuesta mucho seguir conceptos e instrucciones. Ruby tiene varios diagnósticos que pueden explicar por qué ella”se comporta un poco diferente en la vida” – epilepsia, autismo, ADHD … ¡pero para nosotros, es solo Ruby! Este año, Ruby participó por primera vez en el Triatlón de Todas las Habilidades Tri4Youth de FACT Oregon. Ella se divirtió, ¡y nosotros también!
Ruby tiene más éxito cuando puede mirar y luego hacer las cosas y cuando está familiarizada con un lugar. Afortunadamente, FACT Oregon permitió que los participantes vinieran el día anterior a dejar las bicicletas, ver las instalaciones y mirar el curso. También compartieron una historia social y un tablero de comunicación, y vimos un video sobre el evento y hablamos sobre cómo todos participan de manera diferente. Ruby se sintió muy independiente y empoderada al participar con su compañera de equipo y cuidadora Dawn mientras nosotros la animábamos desde un costado. Aunque estaba nerviosa, también estaba emocionada, y con todos animándola, ¡Ruby se sintió como una estrella! Pudo tomar esa energía y mantenerse enfocada a cruzar la línea de meta.
En el triatlón de Todas las Habilidades Tri4Youth, todos son ganadores. Todos los participantes reciben apoyo y es un evento sin presión, y con la única expectativa de divertirse. Y realmente, ese es nuestro enfoque principal en la vida. En otros eventos, sentimos la necesidad de explicar los comportamientos de Ruby o enseñarle las normas sociales que no comprende completamente. Pero en FACT Oregon, solo vimos aceptación.
Para nosotros, el triatlón de todas las habilidades Tri4Youth es una forma divertida de ser parte de algo más grande. Es realmente mágico estar involucrado en una comunidad que nos permite a todos reconocer la vida por lo que realmente es. ¡Doy gracias por Ruby por que me llevó a estar en este lugar en la vida y agradezco a FACT Oregon por la educación continua, el apoyo y los eventos únicos que nos permiten unirnos y ser testigos de la grandeza en todas sus formas!”
Pero FACT Oregon necesita su ayuda. El triatlón de Todas las Habilidades Tri4Youth es una de las muchas formas en que apoyamos a las familias y las conectamos con los recursos y con la comunidad. Nuestros entrenamientos y nuestra línea de apoyo de familias para familias ayuda a las familias a obtener información y orientación sobre educación especial, servicios de discapacidad, comportamiento, tecnología de asistencia, visión, acceso a la comunidad, planificación para la edad adulta y más. Este año hemos estado viajando por todo el estado con nuestras Cumbres Regionales de Aprendizaje gratuitas de un día. Y nuestro equipo de apoyo ha estado ocupado comunicándose con las familias por teléfono y correo electrónico en inglés y español, y con el uso de intérpretes en otros idiomas.
Su generosidad garantiza nuestra capacidad continua de apoyar a las familias que viven con discapacidad.
Estamos agradecidas/os de la fundación The Collins Foundation POR EL DESAFÍO 1: 1 MATCH.
Have you ever struggled to participate in an activity that was inaccessible to you? Have you felt or seen the tears, frustration, and sadness that result?
At FACT Oregon, we interact with families every day whose children are told they can’t participate. Or only in a limited way. Or only in a certain place. Or only if it’s not “too hard.”
FACT Oregon created the All Ability Tri4Youth to provide youth with and without disabilities an opportunity to compete together in a triathlon open and accessible to all. Participation in community sports and recreation is a key aspect of pursuing a whole life for many families. All our kids deserve to participate in a way that celebrates their effort, recognizes barriers, and addresses their needs so that they can be successful.
Read this story from Angie Sims about her daughter’s experience:
“It is often difficult for Ruby to participate in organized sports or events. She has a hard time following concepts and directions. Ruby has several diagnoses that help explain why Ruby “does life” a bit differently — epilepsy, autism, ADHD…but for us, it’s just Ruby! This year Ruby, participated for the first time in FACT Oregon’s All Ability Tri4Youth. She had fun, and so did we!
Ruby succeeds best when she can watch and then do and when she is familiar with a venue. Thankfully, FACT Oregon allowed participants to come the day before to drop off bikes, see the facilities, and look at the course. They shared a social story and communication board, and we watched a video about the event. We talked about how everyone participates differently. Ruby felt very independent and empowered participating with her teammate and caregiver Dawn while we cheered her on from the sidelines. Although she was nervous, she was also excited, and with everyone cheering for her, Ruby felt like a star! She was able to take that energy and stay focused through the finish line.
At the All Ability Tri4Youth, everyone is a winner. Every participant is genuinely supported, and the event is relaxed, sensory friendly, and with no expectations except to have FUN. And really, that is our main focus in life. At other events, we feel the need to explain Ruby’s behaviors or teach her social norms she doesn’t fully grasp. But at FACT Oregon, we just see acceptance.
For us, the All Ability Tri4Youth is a fun way to be a part of something bigger. It is truly magical to be involved in a community that allows us all to recognize life for what it really is. I give thanks for Ruby leading me to this place in life and thank FACT Oregon for the ongoing education, support, and unique events to allow us to come together and witness greatness in all of its forms!”
But FACT Oregon needs your help. The All Ability Tri4Youth is one of many ways we support families and connect them to resources and community. Our trainings and peer support line help families get information and guidance on special education, disability services, behavior, assistive technology, visioning, community access, planning for adulthood, and more. This year, we are traveling across the state with our free day-long Regional Learning Summits. And our support team is busy connecting with families by phone and email in English and Spanish, and working through interpreters in other languages.
Your generosity ensures our ongoing ability to support families experiencing disability.
We are grateful to The Collins Foundation for a 1:1 CHALLENGE MATCH.
Donate today to take advantage of this 1:1 match of new and increased gifts!
By Lucia A.
When Alex was diagnosed with autism back in March of 2009, our whole world came crashing down on us. With his diagnosis came a lot of no’s, closed doors, never’s and many people walked away. But regardless of who was by our side, we always had thing for sure, our will to keep fighting for our son. We knew we couldn’t give up, we kept knocking on doors until one opened. Alex has so much potential, we just needed to find people who believed in him as much as we did. FACT Oregon did just that, last summer we attended their triathlon (the All Ability Tri4Youth) and one of our biggest dreams for Alex came true.
Alex was so happy and excited to be a part of it, he had it saved in his calendar for months since he found out about it. He counted down the days until it was time to be part of the big event. As his mother I truly didn’t know what to expect, all I knew was that I was immensely happy and grateful that we were part of such a beautiful event who welcomed our son and saw him as the amazing soul that he is. Our best friends and immediate family were there to cheer Alex on, which meant the world to me. Alex and his sister were both participating, our daughter was so proud to be running along side her brother. Seeing her supporting him in such a way warmed our hearts and reminded us that all of the pain we have been through has made us that much closer.
By Carol Bunten
Raising 2 children who experience disability has its challenges. Swim lessons were a particularly Sisyphean task for us. We spent weekend mornings watching my children roll their boulders of fear up the mountain, only to have them roll back down again, year after year, with little progress and an ever-changing cast of befuddled instructors.
Because 71% of the Earth is covered with water, however, quitting wasn’t an option. In my heart, I believe that my kids can do anything with enough encouragement. So we signed them up for a triathlon, even though swimming features prominently and had been a source of anxiety and frustration for years.
The FACT website suggested that there would be a “wide range of options for supporting athletes as they complete the course,” including flotation devices, different types of bikes, and competing on a team with family and friends. I figured that with a lot of options we would find some way to get my kids 50 meters across the pool, hopefully without tantrums. Then, somehow, on a bike and then jogging. No problem! What could go wrong? Little did I know how much could go right!
I spent the first Tri for Youth on the bike course, first aid kit in hand in case any mishaps arose, while my husband supported my son and daughter. Despite my emergency preparedness, I was unprepared for the overwhelming sense of pride I felt watching the athletes and the battalion of volunteers cheering them on. My heart exploded, and tears poured from my eyes for three hours, witnessing successes of the athletes, all morning long. Somewhere in the middle of it all, my slightly damp 7 year old son raced by, alone on his bike, all smiles. He was so delighted by his accomplishments , and the freedom to speed ahead amidst all of the supporters, that he tried to joyfully tell me all about it as he whizzed by and promptly hit a curb, falling and scraping his knee.
He was still so proud of himself that he gamely got up, dusted himself off, got some first aid, and pushed through. He couldn’t wait to get to the finish line. So many previous obstacles had been met with frustration (and intolerance of his frustration). This time, magically, he just keep going without a fuss — even though he needed a pretty big bandaid. My tears doubled. Fortunately the first aid kit spent the rest of the day neatly tucked at my side, minus a few Kleenexes.
At the end of that first All Ability Tri4Youth, my whole family felt like we had accomplished something major. We all felt a new sense of confidence. The kids tried something that felt impossible, and found it to be possible, with the right support. They built on this success, and were motivated to get themselves across the pool in the next triathlon just with the power of their own bodies (and maybe one kickboard and a noodle, just in case, but GREAT PROGRESS WAS MADE!)
These past 2 triathlons will be something I remember for the rest of my life. I know that these experiences have provided a sense of accomplishment for my children, who don’t always feel capable and secure in themselves in the world. Two years later, they have built on these successes and lessened their fears enough to demand a trip to Great Wolf Lodge to try out the waterslides, of all things.
The mission of FACT Oregon is to empower families experiencing disability in their pursuit of a whole life. I’d say: Mission accomplished.