When creating sporting, play or activity spaces it is important that you take into consideration the needs of the children.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can they enter the area, field or court?
  • Are there change room and bathroom facilities?
  • Are the surfaces suitable?
  • Do children have access to water so they don’tget dehydrated?
  • Is there a teacher/coach who understands theindividual needs of the children and do they know first aid? Can they appropriately modify the activities and equipment safely?

Sport, games and outdoor activities are crucial for the development of all children, including children with physical disabilities. These activities help with many things including: developing strength, stamina, co-ordination, flexibility and self-confidence as well as interpersonal skills.Exercise helps with conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, weight gain and obesity. In addition, exercise can reduce feelings of depression and also improve behaviour, academic concentration and social interaction.

There are many sporting activities that can be adapted so that children with physical disabilities can be included. Both sporting equipment and rules can be adapted to allow inclusion, for example, you can modify a volley-ball game by seating all the children on the floor with a lowered net and make as maller court. You could also adapt rules in many other games. Examples include allowing the ball to bounce twice in tennis; playing walking soccer; seated tennis, badminton or table tennis; allowing children start in the water (not onthe edge) during swimming sessions; playing blowing darts rather than throwing darts; allowing children using wheelchairs to hold the rugby ball in their lap during modified rugby; letting them catch the ball instead of hitting it duringvolley-ball, or hold the ball and then letting a child hit it; and playing wheelchair basket ball.

There are many fun activities you can play with balls such as sitting in a circle and throwing, pushing, rolling or dribbling the ball to each other using hands, elbows, feet, knees, head etc. You can modify the activities by using different sized and textured balls or even balloons - which are great fun to hit and throw. There are also fun clapping games and other body percussion activities.

Most children love to participate in races and obstacle courses. They can participate individually, in pairs or in groups. You may want to pair children requiring similar support together or with differing abilities to encourage them to support each other. You can modify a race track or obstacle course so that children using wheelchairs, walkers and crutches etc. can still have fun and participate. You could give those requiring more time a head start to even out the playingfield.

Other activities that allow inclusion are wheelchair ballroom dancing and gardening. Watering, weeding and planting a vegetable garden helps to build muscle and develop hand-eye co-ordination.

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