On October 16-19, Virginia Beach was host to the APRIL conference. Held annually for the last 21 years, the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) gathers its membership from across the country to network, offer training and technical assistance, and to provide much needed opportunities for socialization and collaboration for staff of Centers for Independent Living who serve rural communities.
RTC: Rural has been a long time partner of APRIL’s and sends staff each year to present updates on research projects to APRIL membership.
Lillie Greiman presented information on how to access and use data from the American Community Survey. This is information that can help Centers for Independent Living find out about disability rates in their communities which can then aid in grant writing and advocacy efforts. She provided participants with a how-to guide that they can use to search for data and demonstrated the process by providing a guided tour of the ACS search process.
Tannis Hargrove, presented on Decision Support for Health Promotion and the new Health MyWay application. She reviewed the need for one-on-one based health promotion programming that includes flexibility in content and use, based on previous research findings and our long standing Living Well with a Disability Curriculum. The Health MyWay app is in the early stages of development and we are currently gathering information from consumers and providers to help shape the new app.
Andrew Myers and Lillie Greiman (pictured above) presented an update on the Home Usability Network. Andrew and Lillie discussed the participatory process they used in the development of this network as well as the overall goals of the project which include tools and resources for improving accessibility in the home.
Tom Seekins updated conference attendees on Rural Community Participation, discussing both the barriers and opportunities people with disabilities face when they want to participate in community events. Dr. Seekins’ presentation discussed general accessibility issues but also focused on the accessibility of events as way to look at how people with disabilities are included in community life.