With the pilot of the FIRST Access programs, FIRST in Texas aims to make FIRST robotics programming more accessible to students with disabilities. The diversity of disabilities leads to the need for greater awareness and opportunities to make our programs more accessible. There is not a one-size fits all solution. Instead, we will attempt to provide options that teams can choose to best meet the needs of their students.
Students with disabilities and special needs have many multiple avenues to participate:
- Traditional FIRST teams
- FIRST Tech Challenge – FIRST Access
- LEGO Robotics – FIRST Access
- Unified Division of FIRST Access (Special Olympics Texas Unified Champion School & UIL Member School)
FIRST Tech Challenge – FIRST Access and LEGO Robotics – FIRST Access specifically support the participation of students with disabilities, although any student can choose to participate on a traditional FIRST team through their school, youth group, community organization, homeschool group, or other supporting entity. Inclusion of students with disabilities on a traditional FIRST robotics team is wonderful and encouraged, while FIRST Access programs provide a different experience that is equally important. For students at Special Olympics Texas Unified Champion Schools that are also UIL Member Schools, FIRST Access teams also have the opportunity to participate in the Unified Division of FIRST Access and qualify for the Unified Division of the UIL Robotics at the FIRST Access State Championship. All FIRST Access teams are eligible to participate in the FIRST Access State Championship during the pilot season; in subsequent season, teams may qualify through local/regional tournaments.