Integrating Students

With a Disability
In Our Physical Education Classes

Mark Hooper - 2010

Students with a disability have the same basic needs, drive and dreams as other students

Physical activity is a crucial factor in a disabled student's quality of life. The reasons for teaching these participants is fundamentally no different than teaching any other students. Teaching students with a disability can enhance your teaching abilities and help you see things differently and creatively.

Stage 1 ± First Reactions - Worries about what to say - Doubts about your ability as a teacher - Focus too much on the disability - Question the level of understanding Stage 2 ± Making Assumptions - Rather than speculating, engage in frank dialogue (resource teacher, administration, Parents) - Communication is the key - Students with a disability involved in sports have, for the most part, accepted their disability.

Stage 3 ± Accommodating the situation - Learn more about the students specific needs - Be aware for their capabilities. - Challenge yourself to find ways to make the appropriate accommodations. Stage 4 ± Getting into the Technical Phases - Teachers become curious about the technical aspect of teaching students with disabilities. - Teachers reach a degree of comfort. - Teachers seek to know how the performance of the specific student can be improved. - Teachers find that the disability is no longer a factor. - The focus is on teaching and helping the person improve his or her abilities.

Part II ± First Contact
Welcoming the person with the disability. Finding out more about the disability. Assessing fitness, coordination and skill level.

Welcoming the Person with a Disability
Make the first impression a positive one. Introduce the student with a disability and create conditions for successful integration.
For participants with intellectual disabilities, use developmentally appropriate accommodations. Misconceptions should be overcome.

Finding Out More About the Disability
Get information concerning the person's ability to perform in an activity. Be with them and observe what they can and cannot do. Establish goals and objectives that are realistic but not limiting.

Assessing Fitness, Coordination and Skill Level
Assessment of the physical, cognitive and social aspects of athletes with disabilities is essential. Use a process similar to that used with all students. Be Creative!!!!

Part III ± Communication and Interaction
Get to know the person Establish Trust Parental involvement Activity Assistant

Do's and Don'ts
Do not be scared to ask questions. Ensure Equal Treatment. Do not assume that students with intellectual or speech and language disabilities do not understand. Use a progressive approach for students with an intellectual disability. Have a well structured lesson plan. Take a knee when talking to a person in a wheelchair.

Part IV ± Value of Inclusion and Integration
Valuable for people with a disability. Valuable for students without a disability. Valuable for teachers. Valuable for Parents.

See the Person Not the Disability
Josh is currently a member of the National Boccia Team. In high school he was a member of the wrestling and tackle football teams. A true example of someone who has never let his disability stop him.

In-Class Activities

Sitting Volleyball

Chair Aerobics

Additional Resources
Todd Nicholson - #19 Team Canada Sledge Hockey Team Todd

Esteem Team:

Paralympic Association:

National Capital Eyes

Ottawa Carleton Wheelchair Sports Association:
Elementary School Lending Program Cost: $135/week 720 Belfast Road, Suite 104 Ottawa, Ontario K1G 0Z5 tel.(613) 569-6739 fax. (613) 244-4857


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