Children with disabilities who participate in physical and recreational disabilities are less likely to suffer from depression, show improvement in their academics, increase their social lives, and are less susceptible to secondary health complications, according to the American Association of Adaptive Sports Programs.
Adaptive, or adapted sports are activities in which the equipment, rules, or requirements are modified enough so that people with disabilities can participate. Adaptations can include replacing a baseball with a wiffle ball, lowering the net of a volleyball court, or reducing the playing area of a soccer field. Adaptive Sports organizations have blossomed since the late 1970’s and can be easily found on the internet using a basic search engine. These organizations provide people with disabilities the equipment or forum they need in order to participate in physical activities ranging anywhere from organized sports events (like track and field meets) to outdoor adventures. Usually such organizations are not for profit.
It is important to recognize the very serious complications that arise from severe physical disabilities. According to Bay Area Outreach Recreational Program (BORP), a disabled student is twice as likely than his non-disabled peer to drop out of high school, become a pregnant teen, or abuse alcohol or drugs. A disabled girl is twice as likely to commit suicide, and 73% of disabled adults are unemployed. In light of these statistics, and the success of the very accessible adaptive sports programs, it’s important to teach all students about the importance of physical health, and provide them with the resources they may need in order to seek it out.
Here are a few adaptive sports organizations in the Washington, DC area:
BlazeSports Club Washington DC
Disabled Sports USA
Created by: Kristen Holtschlag
Footnote: Cure our Children: Sports and Recreational Activities for the disabled by Cure our Children Foundation. July 2007. http://www.cureourchildren.org/sports.htm