Athletics And Persons With Disabilities

2068 Words Oct 6th, 2014 9 Pages
Athletics and Persons with Disabilities

It wasn’t that long ago when the words “athletics” and “persons with disabilities” did not belong together. If a person was born with a physical or intellectual disability, sports fell into the group of activities that were excluded from their life. If an athlete acquired a physical or intellectual disability, sports became an activity they could no longer participate in. Sports and athletic pursuits belonged solely to non-disabled persons. Persons with disabilities could only watch from the sidelines. Our society did not encourage or support any physical sports programs that allowed persons with disabilities to pursue their athletic dreams. Slowly, a cultural shift has altered our perception
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Although public schools are mandated to provide adaptive physical education, these guidelines can apply to any program offering adaptive sports for children or adults. The key to adaptive physical education or any sports program is to modify the activity so everyone can fully participate to the best of their abilities. Any modification made should only be done if necessary and it is important to maintain the integrity of the sport for all participants.

History of Sports for Persons with Disabilities Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister to President John F. Kennedy, is credited with creating the Special Olympics. The Kennedy family had a member who was intellectually disabled and it is believed that Mrs. Shriver’s interest was derived from this personal connection. She was on the presidential panel for persons with intellectual disabilities and was also the director for the Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation which funded research for the causes of intellectual disability.5 Initially, Mrs. Shriver held summer camps for the intellectually disabled in her own home. She noted that there were not facilities or opportunities for children with intellectual disabilities to play or participate in sports. From these small
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