HUNTINGTON - Anyone who cares for someone with disabilities can attest to how difficult it can be to navigate the maze of resources and care options available.
There is no one website or resource book to guide them. Even if there were, no two people with disabilities have the same needs.
It was a problem four local mothers of children with disabilities set out to fix in 2008, and the annual One4All Disability Expo was formed. For one afternoon each year, Huntington High School becomes a superstore for parents and caretakers to handpick disability resources for every need: from service dogs to comforting weighted blankets to special-needs sports leagues.
"We wanted to make sure that there was one place that a parent could come, look a person eye-to-eye and talk to them about what it is that will help their child be successful in life and be more independent," said Michelle Norweck, event coordinator and one of the four founding moms.
The annual event is free and open to the public and features nearly 60 vendors from across the Tri-State offering information as well as games, music and free food throughout the day.
One in five West Virginians has a disability, the highest population percentage in all 50 states. By contrast, Utah has the lowest percentage - around one in 10.
The event has gradually added to its offering over its 10 years in existence. It now includes more adult services to keep up with the aging population with disabilities, Norweck said, adding that for the first time in history there are more adults with disabilities than children.
"We need to keep up with the aging of these individuals so that we can make an impact on their lives and make them more independent."
A list of participating local vendors and contact information is available at one4alldisabilities.org.
Follow reporter Bishop Nash on Twitter @BishopNash.