The University of Kansas School of Special Education’s Hawk Hopes Blog just posted my article on the role of adaptive sports on disability acceptance. If you have been wondering about what I am writing related to my PhD research, this is a small sample of what is to come.
My belief from personal and professional experiences are that hobbies and recreational programs, like adaptive sports, play a critical role in aiding disability acceptance. Before we get to the point where one believes they are independent, we need them to feel comfortable and integrate their tools and techniques that promote their independence. Rehab programs alone will not accomplish this, especially highly structured programs.
We need to promote activities that engages an individual’s interest areas first, and then build from there. If they like sports, then run with it. If they like technology, then plug them in. If they like cooking, then toss up some flavorful goals.
Ultimately we need to listen to the person living with the disability and learn what it is they desire. Its not about us as outsiders. Its all about what the individual wishes to learn. Sometimes this may be really difficult, especially if one does not see their own possibilities. Hobbies, recreational programs, and adaptive sports may serve as the catalyst to expand ones beliefs about disability’s possibilities.