Equal access to fun
Recently I’ve seen a rash of articles discussing the lack of accessible kid friendly recreation options out there.
For example Manitoba Riding for the Disabled is a wildly successful program. Kids are given the opportunity to learn the art of equestrianism in a professional stable but the demand outpaces the ability of instructors to offer the service. The CBC featured an accessible yoga class. The class is a great option for kids who can’t play rough and tumble sports like football. It’s a way to be active, meet people, and have fun! However classes are limited and small. Parents are concerned at the lack of variety and availability of programs like these.
At the beginning of the year the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights issued a guidance that stated that children with disabilities have the right to participate in their school’s extracurricular activities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. School’s must provide equipment and supports to enable equal access. Where that is not possible or would fundamentally alter the game, an accessible alternative to the sport must be offered, ex. wheelchair basketball.
This is a leap forward for the United States! By strongly supporting this kind of legislation, many opportunities open up for kids. Valuable skills like teamwork are learned in childhood through experiences like sport. The worth of these experiences cannot be underestimated. I look forward to seeing growth in the field of equal access sports. Someday soon kids won’t be sidelined without stimulating, engaging, fun extracurricular opportunities equal to those of children without disabilities.
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