viaSport launches online search tool for adaptive and inclusive programming

Jan 06, 2020

As part of an ongoing project to help British Columbians access high-quality adaptive and inclusive sport experiences, viaSport’s new and improved Access Sport Hub (ASH) goes live this week. The chatbot, which is a free, public resource, makes it easy for people of all abilities to search, discover and register for sport and recreation programming.

ASH is currently hosted on the viaSport website and can connect users to over 300 adaptive or inclusive activities offered by Canucks Autism Network and Vancouver Park Board, with plans to partner with organizations from across the province in the near future. While ready for use, ASH is constantly undergoing upgrades, and further developments may include embedding the chatbot on partner websites and expanding the program database.

ASH was developed in partnership with Microsoft, FusionWare Integration Corp, Vancouver Park Board and Canucks Autism Network and supported by funding from the Disability Alliance of British Columbia and the Province of B.C. The tool seeks to improve sport and recreation participation rates among persons with a disability by collecting high-quality program information from various providers into one accessible online location. Centralizing adaptive and inclusive programs also helps organizations with promotion by expanding their reach beyond their usual participants.

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Recognizing that for many participants and their caregivers, finding the right programs for their unique abilities can be challenging, the team developing ASH incorporated chat and voice recognition technology to humanize the experience as much as possible. The chatbot communicates with users in a conversational tone, and as such, “learns” how to generate better results with every interaction. The team also consulted with members of the disability community to help define what parameters might be important in helping individuals find the right programs for them.

Though ASH was developed primarily for the disability community, there are also a number of opportunities for seniors, people with injuries or anyone looking for programming in an inclusive environment. ASH can also be a useful tool for social workers, teachers, coaches, fitness professionals, athletic therapists, adapted physical activity specialists, physiotherapists, chiropractors and other health care and medical professionals.

For more information on how you or your organization can take advantage of ASH, please contact viaSport also welcomes feedback, reports of issues as well as suggested program additions to make ASH a more meaningful and helpful tool to all British Columbians.