TSAA's Special Archery JOAD initiative, aka SAJI (Sadg-ee)

A TSAA committee consisting of Tom Barker, Lynda LeCompte, Sabrina Harrigan and Shannon Hathaway make the following recommendations to the TSAA board:

The TSAA shall facilitate all Instructors, Coaches, and Texas clubs/JOADS, to make provision and to PROMOTE the immediate inclusion of children with special needs into the Texas JOAD program whenever a circumstance provides such opportunity.  
For this purpose and recommendation, the TSAA defines "Special Needs" to mean JOAD-age children with either cognitive impairments, delays, or physical challenges.

We encourage parents for these children, ALL children, to enable participation and for ALL Texas archery clubs to find a place for them.  To facilitate this goal, we offer the following guidelines to be known as the 

Texas Special Archery (TSA) JOAD initiative.

Be it known to all persons that,

1) "Archery for all.  No exceptions.”

2) Children with special needs should be included based on skill set.  Age is not a categorical factor unless they are mainstreamed with able-bodied JOADs and adults, and then only for the purpose of competition as the archer shall decide.

3) Pin shoots are highly encouraged to find the appropriate skill set and to acclimate the children with special needs to the tournament environment, alongside those without special needs.

4) The TSA divisions are participation class only but pins earned based on performance and moving from one group to another should be highly celebrated and recognized.  Organizers of events should consider implementing awards (TSA Awards) of participation to those children with special needs involved in the events. These are not intended to simply be "showing up" awards!

5) Any child with special needs can and should compete in the regular JOAD groups if they have the requisite skill set and they desire to do so.

6) There are existing guidelines for paralympic archery and those that want to compete in the paralympics and it can be found here:

https://worldarchery.org/Para-Archery

However, this World Archery link is mere informative, not regulatory, for our initiative.  Formal Classification is not the primary concern nor is the WA the controlling authority for us in Texas for this initiative to enable *every* Texan youth who might aspire to become an archer.  We aim to include and serve all, including those children with cognitive delays, such as (but not limited to) individuals with Down’s Syndrome, Aspergers and those on the Autism Spectrum.  We are confident that this can be done safely and with full regard for the welfare of all.


7) For those children unable to compete in the able bodied disciplines, such as those with cognitive delays or physical challenges, we recommend the use of the existing USA Archery pin system and JOAD scoring achievement system to classify children by skill set (Again, age is not a factor).  We propose the following general guidelines and groups for any archers with Special Needs:

TSA-1 - Children with Green, Purple or Silver level status at 9 meters indoors (30 arrows, 60 cm face for bare bow and recurve, 40 cm for compound)

TSA-2 - Children with White, Black or Blue level status graduating to 18 meters once White level attained. (30 arrows, 60 cm or 40 cm face depending on bow type)

TSA-3 - Children with Red or Yellow Status at 18 meters. (60 arrows, bow appropriate target face.)

Guidelines:
Children in the TSA-1 classification must have an agent within arms length at all times for safety reasons. The agent may load the archer's bow and assist with drawing and aiming, both audible and physical.  The agent (as well as the archer when able) should go to the target for scoring and pulling of arrows.  Safety is the most important goal here. The combination of bow and arrows may not be left in archer's grasp after 3 whistles. It is stressed that the archer shall have sufficient agent resources to be safe as well as successful.

Children in the TSA-2 classification MAY have an agent to assist with bow loading and this agent MAY give audible instructions to their archer.  Routine physical assistance is not allowed. The combination of bow and arrows may or may not be left in archer's grasp after 3 whistles if the agent/other archers are down-range, at the discretion of the range master.

Children in the TSA-3 classification are encouraged to be self-sufficient for shooting and scoring.

The archer is encouraged to score and pull arrows, either alone or in concert with an agent.
The agent, who must be qualified by the director of shooting, is allowed to assist the archer in scoring and pulling of arrows in all classifications.

All activities of ALL archers will always be controlled by the range master, and the agents are obliged to be appropriately educated and informed to insure safety for all.

8) For outdoor events such as TOTS we recommend that when age-appropriate, TSA-1 children shoot with the yeomen, and for TSA-2 and TSA-3 archers, joining with the age-appropriate  (ie, bowman, cubs, cadets) groups.

These guidelines are a beginning, to be considered an evolving work in progress as the initiative grows.

PRIMARY GOAL:

The primary goal is to include provisions, mechanisms, and enhance the knowledge for our leaders in our sport, for the sake of participation, any youth that wish to join.  Parents, JOAD Leaders, Instructors, and Coaches, even allied health professionals, in addition to the youth, all join together to facilitate this.  Safety is the first concern, and beyond that, doing what ever is necessary - release aids, mitten grips (soft gloves with velcro straps to enable bowhand success), flexible distances and target sizes, low-weight and light-weight bows, large apertures for aiming, physical assistance in supporting and steadying the weight of the bow, are but a FEW of the flexible aspects for TSAJI.  We are not concerned with being able to compete at the Paralympics, though that may be a goal of the youth. 
Enjoyment and the sense of accomplishment that every archer obtains from the sport can be the greatest of rewards for the youth and the family.  The growth of archery skills and self-esteem are completely and mutually beneficial. 
We also recognize there are others beyond Texas that are also pursuing the initiative's goals already.
TSAA aims to facilitate growth and participation by the state-wide promulgation of this initiative, and we hope other organizations, including the USA Archery, can see merit in this and ultimately, grow to support this JOAD Initiative as well.

On behalf of the Texas State Archery Association's entire membership, the TSA JOAD Initiative is formally and unanimously endorsed by

TSAA Board:  Ron Carmichael, President
Lorinda Cohen Gomez, Vice-President
Michael Hojnacki, Secretary
Andrew Wang, Treasurer
Kevin Albers, JOAD Co-ordinator

Contact the Committee:

Tom Barker, Lynda LeCompte, Sabrina Harrigan and Shannon Hathaway

To this, we invite all JOAD Coaches and Instructors who adopt this philosophy to document and provide information to the TSAA committee members (above), or to the webmaster, Ron Carmichael.  This information will serve as the nucleus for a how-to/support manual to be posted on the TSAA site, with as many examples (including appropriately considerate/generic photos) of the adaptive measures and methods we find to be most effective. This must be done in full cooperation with the archer as well as the parent/guardian. 

At this point and at a minimum, the TSAA feels that beyond the JOAD club environment, our tournament organizers should make reasonable accommodations for children with special needs or communicate the lack thereof to parents of potential attendees.  
Parents of archers with special needs should communicate to the tournament organizers any special issues such as wheelchair access, noise hypersensitivity, height issues or target side issues(e.g. prefer low target assignment, right side for wheelchair bound left hand archer). 

We strongly urge any parent or athlete with unusual needs: For the best possible experience PLEASE be pro-active and approach the coach, JOAD leader, or tournament director early and with full disclosure of what you feel is needed.  Be willing to work in collaboration towards an optimal outcome for all of the archers.  This will help immensely in building a mutual respect and positive attitude in all.