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3 wheelchairs on court showing adaptive equipment at the ymca

The Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities (Cuyahoga D.D.) serves more than 13,000 people with disabilities with a mission to support and empower people with developmental disabilities to live, learn, work, and play in the community. The Y recently spoke with Morgan Forsythe, Community Development Specialist, whose role is to educate the community on the importance of being inclusive.

All means all. Cuyahoga D.D. believes strongly that all people deserve equal access to and be equal participants in all aspects of community life. This belief is the foundation of inclusion. Cuyahoga D.D. offers many types of resources, including training for organizations, assistive technology, housing support, family support, referrals, and employment support, to name a few.

In 2022, the West Shore YMCA applied for and obtained grant funding from Cuyahoga D.D. to purchase adaptive equipment for its branch. Morgan said that the application stood out because the Y is where no one is turned away because of ability. The Y aspires to be genuinely inclusive with an adaptive focus so that all abilities can participate together.  

In the photo is Tyler Stark, Personal Trainer at the YMCA, demonstrating attaching resistance tubing to a wheelchair in the gym at the West Shore YMCA. For a full-time manual wheelchair user, focusing on back, shoulder, and core strengthening exercises is essential because these body parts may be neglected in favor of the arm muscles. As shown in the picture, the Overhead Band Shoulder Press is just one exercise that engages all three of these areas. With a band and our wheelchairs, a total upper-body strength workout is accessible. Tyler added that this type of strength training is essential in preventing injury and allowing more independence for the client.

March is Disabilities Awareness Month. Working together, we can make Cuyahoga County a more accessible and inclusive place to live, learn, work, and play. Organizations that want to be more accommodating or offer inclusive volunteer opportunities can visit their site:

You will also find a list of inclusive places, special events and job opportunities around Northeast Ohio that meet Cuyahoga D.D.'s standards for inclusion and accessibility.

The YMCA of Greater Cleveland thanks Cuyahoga D.D. for their incredible work and for supporting the YMCA, ensuring we can deliver our mission of being a place for all.

Cuyahoga D.D. Site

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