Fort Wayne (March 21, 2019) – AWS Foundation announced today the creation of Indiana Disability Resource FINDER (IndianaDisabilityResourceFINDER.org). The online program was developed through a collaborative effort with State of Indiana representatives and dozens of nonprofit organizations located around the state to connect individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers to services, programs and supports in their communities across Indiana. This state-wide program known as FINDER is free.
FINDER is designed to collect and organize contact and service information from around Indiana, giving 24/7 access to timely and reliable information improving quality of life for Hoosiers living with an intellectual, developmental or physical disability. AWS Foundation covered all direct costs for the project and thousands of hours were spent by community members, organizations and Foundation staff over the last two years to establish Indiana Disability Resource FINDER (IndianaDisabilityResourceFINDER.org).
“Over the years, AWS Foundation has continued to ask individuals, families and caregivers what could be done to best assist them. Locating reliable information was always at the top of the list. We realized if the Foundation could solve the information problem, it would be a game changer,” says Larry Adelman, AWS Foundation Board Chair.
To date, over 100 program and service providers around Indiana along with nearly as many self-advocates and family members have participated in the development process to determine how best to easily access and share quality information. FINDER (IndianaDisabilityResourceFINDER.org) is the first phase of the project released for public use.
“When a family hears of a diagnosis that will have life long implications the first reaction might be “What should I do now?”. FINDER will help empower that parent, teacher, caregiver or other to find answers to their questions and become a more informed advocate,” says Patti Hays, CEO of AWS Foundation. “Access to knowledge is empowering.”
Currently Indiana Disability Resource FINDER contains nearly 2,000 unique service providers located across the state with the potential to include thousands more. Program, service and equipment providers are asked to logon to IndianaDisabilityResourceFINDER.org to verify if their information is on the website. Organizations can update an existing listing or enter new information. All information displayed on FINDER is reviewed and verified before published.
“The state of Indiana is well aware that each individual with a disability is unique and requires their own treatment plan that will help them thrive,” Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch said. “By connecting providers, individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers, we are widening the pool of resources and will ultimately get better care to our friends with different abilities.”
“Trying to raise two sons with autism while also being their advocate meant that I needed to understand what service options were available and how to access them. The problem is that we don’t know what we don’t know or where to even begin,” states parent Kelly Pence. “The idea of having one central database for all of us to contribute to and access vetted, current information is a breath of fresh air.”
When an existing program was not found that could answer all of Indiana’s needs, a Fort Wayne company was selected by AWS Foundation to develop new software. Aptera, Inc. participated with individuals, families and service providers in a discovery process designed to fully understand what was needed to support the wide range of community requirements before being awarded development work for the FINDER site.
“When AWS Foundation approached us with this project the entire Aptera team was excited about the opportunity,” states TK Herman, President & CEO of Aptera, Inc. “There are so many great organizations around our state that significantly impact the lives of our families, friends and neighbors living with a disability. Knowing that we could develop a program using leading technology to help others more easily find the support they need is incredibly satisfying. Of all the projects we have worked on as a company, this project is the most impactful to the community.”
AWS Foundation asks that if a resource that benefits the disability community is missing from the FINDER site, individuals are to submit information online at IndianaDisabilityResourceFINDER.org.