In an attempt to make sport and athletics more available to persons with disabilities, Red Deer College will be hosting an Adapted Physical Activity (APA) Symposium this weekend.
The symposium will bring together a wide variety of speakers from health professionals to athletic representatives to share information on adapted physical activity. The conference begins on March 19th and runs to March 21st.
The event is presented in collaborative effort between Red Deer College, the Alberta Sport Connection and the Steadward Centre for Personal and Physical Achievement from the University of Alberta.
“The Steadward Centre and myself got together and looked at what we could do to bring professionals from across the province and across Canada here to have collaboration and a discussion around all levels of physical activity for people living with impairments,” said Brandi Heather, chair of the committee hosting the APA Symposium.
“That could be anyone from someone who has a newly acquired spinal cord injury to someone who has cerebral palsy or Down syndrome. It really encompasses any impairing condition that’s out there under the behavioural, cognitive and physical umbrellas.”
The symposium is divided into three ‘streams’. The first revolves around adapted physical activity for children and youths. It will provide strategies, resources and programming pertaining to that age group.
The second stream is aimed at fitness providers and will provide information on designing new programs and ways to implement new ideas.
The third stream of the event is a focus on building inclusive communities, and creating accessible adapted physical activity in Central Alberta.
“We want to ensure our students leave with a really in depth knowledge of the adapted field, and the knowledge of how to adapt facilities, coaching and facilitation of sports and physical activity. We also talk about the people that work in the grassroots programming, from looking at rehabilitation specialists to recreation therapists to physiotherapists and occupational therapists. They all have a part to play,” said Heather.
She added this symposium is important to have in Central Alberta because there are many people living in the area with impairments that often have to leave the community for adapted sports. She said one of the most important outcomes of the event would be the sharing and collaboration within the community that comes as a result of the information shared at the symposium.
“We don’t want people thinking they can only access sports like these in big cities. In Central Alberta, we have so many people with impairments, from kids to adults, who would love to still participate in sport and we need to make sure they understand there is the ability and resources and drive to create that in Central Alberta, so they don’t have to travel to Edmonton or Calgary,” she said.
Public entry fees for the symposium are $112.50 for a single day or $240 for the full event. Professional pricing for a single day is $150 with the full symposium priced at $240. For students, a single day costs $20 to enter, and the full symposium is $35.
“The whole three days is full of great speakers on everything from engaging students in community services, to adapted yoga, to taking a look at barrier-free programming, new research in functional electrical stimulation – there is just so much stuff that a lot of people won’t even know we have access to. It’ll be a real opportunity for parents, professionals, athletes and coaches to come together and look at what’s out there.”
For more information or to register call 403-357-3663 or check out www.rdc.ab.ca/conferences.