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Upcoming Montana's Rural Health Initiative Webinar!

Building Inclusive Playgrounds in Montana:  Examples from Missoula and Helena

Thurday, August 7, 2014   |   12:00 to 1:00 P.M. MTN

Register here:

Learn how two Montana communities brought accessible opportunities to local playgrounds to make fun - inclusive. 

Meg Traci, Director of the Montana Disability and Health Program of the Rural Institute will be one of the presenters.

Outdoor play is critical for healthy child development, and children learn from play in a variety of ways:  physical, cognitive, emotional, and sensory.  Children with disabilities are empowered when the built environment meets their needs for play. Indeed, all children benefit when play spaces are designed for children of all abilities to play together.

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Fishing Derby

MonTECH Recreation

Montana’s outdoors are some of the most beautiful natural landscapes on earth. Unfortunately many Montanans have a difficult time enjoying all the outdoors has to offer due to physical limitations. MonTECH is an organization that uses state funding and grants to loan assistive technology to Montanans in need.

Recently MonTECH joined up with the Missoula Parks and Recreation department to put on a series of youth fishing derbies. During 2 sessions between 70 and 90 families participated in the derby fishing in the Clark Fork river in Missoula. During the event Parks and Rec. taught sustainable fishing practices to the youth and their families. They even awarded prizes for biggest and smallest fish, as well as prettiest and ugliest fish.

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Rick Heitz - building up the advocacy network in Montana

Rick Heitz

The Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities is looking forward to working with Rick Heitz. Rick is the Montana State Coordinator for Pacific Alliance for Disability Self-Advocacy (PADSA), visit:

Here are Rick’s own words about himself: “I became involved in the disability community when I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Sjogren’s in April 2008. I have many of the symptoms of MS (Multiple Sclerosis) which is a slow degenerating disease.

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Webinar about Young Adults with Disabilities Transitioning into Adult Lives

Self-Management Strategies for People to Live and Work

“Amazing!” That’s how participants describe a recent webinar facilitated by the Rural Institute’s Kim Brown and Ellen Condon. Their webinar series is a highly-respected source of information for young adults with disabilities transitioning into their adult lives and for the family members and professionals who support them. Over 175 people from 25 states participated in the May 13, 2014 session entitled “Self-Management Strategies for People to Live and Work Independently.”

The presenters discussed ways to incorporate hi-, lo- and no-tech assistive technology (AT) into daily life to help build self-management and independence skills.  They also described  planning processes used to determine appropriate AT for an individual at each stage of a person’s life.

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Craig Ravesloot, Ph.D. - 2014 Distinguished Service Award Recipient

Craig Ravesloot with award

Craig Ravesloot, Ph.D., was awarded the National Association of Rehabilitation Research and Training Center 2014 Distinguished Service award at the NARRTC annual conference in Washington, DC.

Dr. Ravesloot has been conducting research at the RTC:Rural for more than 25 years. He received the award for his research productivity, including the national reach of the evidence-based Living Well with a Disability program that has been implemented by over 250 organizations in more than 45 states.

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