At a time when the general public is being told to remain socially distant, Collierville’s Christopher Myers is working to bring the special needs community together.
Myers, who has authored a book about his relationship with an autistic son, Taylor, recently went live with a website designed to harness and customize localized information to help serve individuals with special needs, as well as their parents, care givers and case managers.
The tool is intended to provide “real-time information” to serve the more than 130,000 people in the Mid-South with disabilities.
“Years ago, my wife and I were struggling,” Myers said. “‘Where do we go for information?’
“You can Google anything today,” he continued. “That’s great. The problem is, Google is not personalized and it is not customized. So, I had this idea. What if we made a platform that was.”
Myers, a local marketing consultant, has been crafting the concept for nearly a decade.
“After considerable time and effort and with the validation of statewide, quantitative research, hundreds of conversations with parents, advocates and others, I am announcing the launch of a technology platform called ReAbility,” Myers said. “The information includes current programs, fun activities, jobs, interests and other specific information built into a personal profile, all password protected and encrypted for safety and security.”
The site is called DreamscapeReAbility.org.
“Millions of disabled individuals do not have access to or don’t know where to go for resources,” Myers said.
Currently the sources for information include SRVS, Harwood Center, Madonna Learning Center and Arc of the Mid-South.
Myers hopes the number of contributors continues to grow. Lee Southard, a coordinator at Arc of the Mid-South, called the platform a “one stop shop for all services.”
The site provides notifications that include job postings, recreational activities and resources that can be personalized for every individual.
The platform is also meant to be used as a database.
“It is one place that we can gather information from for the people that we serve,” said Rachel Wooley, SRVS manager for Collierville.
Myers expects the concept to expand.
“Approximately 60 million individuals in the United States have some form of special needs, from dyslexia to autism, and that number is increasing,” Myers said. “In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the rate of autism alone is now 1 in every 54 live births. Just 25 years ago, that number was at least 1 in 2,500. Millions of those individuals have some resources to assist them every day as provided by their state, city, local community/faith-based organizations or at least know where to find those resources.”
The platform is free for the first 30 days.