SportAbility of Iowa focuses on ability, not disability, and we hope to demonstrate this by sharing the stories of a few of our athletes.
SportAbility of Iowa offers inclusive sport and recreation programs for people of all ages with physical disabilities and visual impairments throughout the eastern Iowa Corridor. Sports for people with disabilities (disability sports) should not be compared to the traditional way of playing sports, nor should they be portrayed as activities reserved only for people with disabilities.
A recent study examined the benefits of including a disability sports unit in a 5th grade physical education curriculum in a school in southern New England. The authors were looking to determine "whether a disability sport unit in physical education would make a difference in how the students think about individuals with disabilities."
After five weeks of sitting volleyball, sled hockey, wheelchair basketball and goalball, student feedback was positive:
"We played a bunch of Paralympic sports, and I think they were as fun if not more fun than regular sports."
"I think people with disabilities can be as good as regular people without disabilities...Being good at a sport is like the same for all people, depending on what sport you play."
"I used to think people with disabilities were a little bit disadvantaged, but now that I have played some of the sports, I think they are just like you and me."
"I definitely think they can participate in sports, but they just play the sports differently than we do."
The authors concluded that schools in the United States "should take advantage of the opportunity to use sport as a means for promoting social inclusion and equal opportunity in ways that celebrate ability rather than disability."
SportAbility of Iowa is doing just that.
Grenier, M., & Kearns, C. (2012) The benefits of implementing disability sports in physical education: A model for success. The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, & Dance 83(4), 23-27.