Celebrating ‘diversabilities’

The Disability Advocacy Cultural Association (DACA) is organizing the seventh annual Diversabilities Conference, to be held this Friday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Smith Multicultural Center, SMSU 328.

Four coordinators on DACA’s staff, Tevan Ehittenden, Katie Lynett, Amanda Hansen and Jody Ramey, said this year’s theme, sports and recreation, is intended to demonstrate that while it is hard for any individual to become involved in an exercise or sports program, it is especially difficult for adults with disabilities. However, there are many groups available in the Portland area that specialize in adaptive sports and recreation activities. “There are no quote ‘alternative’ ways to do things, just different ways,” one staff member said.

DACA has scheduled several groups to appear at the event. The city’s own wheelchair basketball team, the Portland Wheelblazers, will be making an appearance, as may a quad rugby team.

Two of the groups slated to present are the Portland-based Adventures Without Limits, which specializes in a plethora of activities such as adaptive rock climbing, rafting, kayaking, canoeing, snow shoeing, skiing, sledding, hiking, biking and backpacking, as well as the Adaptive Riding Institute, which arranges horseback riding for the disabled and their family members.

DACA hosts three major conferences every year. The first, which takes place in the fall, is Deconstructing Disabilities, which centers on the social constructions of disabilities. April brings the second conference, Autism Advocacy Alive, which is a disability-specific presentation. Diversabilities is the last conference of the year. Every year the theme revolves around an aspect of general lifestyle.