Outdoor Sport Program for Children

During the project “Active Park” many different experts from the field of sport from project partners’ countries (Slovenia, Croatia, Sweden, Romania and Italy) cooperated together to develop an innovative sport/exercises program which consists of two main outputs of the outdoor sport program. Different best practices from partner countries and optimal set of outdoor exercises/sports for children with special needs make up the program which goal is to increase the level of physical activity of children.     

Program of Outdoor Sports and Exercises for Children with Special Needs

Despite being more vulnerable to developmental risks, young children with disabilities are often overlooked in mainstream programmes and services designed to ensure child development. They also do not receive the specific supports required to meet their rights and needs. Children with disabilities and their families are confronted by barriers including inadequate legislation and policies, negative attitudes, inadequate services, and lack of accessible environments. If children with developmental delays or disabilities and their families are not provided with timely and appropriate early intervention, support and protection, their difficulties can become more severe—often leading to lifetime consequences, increased poverty and profound exclusion.

Inclusive Physical Literacy

Definition of Physical Literacy

”Physical literacy is the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge, and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.”

– The International Physical Literacy Association, May 2014

Every person should have the opportunity to develop physical literacy. Program coordinators, leaders, and facility operators have a responsibility to create univer­sally accessible physical literacy opportunities.

This can be a daunting task to figure out how to develop or adapt programs to be inclusive of disabilities. As such, in 2016 through the RBC Learn to Play funding, a series of trainings and a collection of resources has been undertaken to create a portal of information so that there is a place to start to find programs, information, or training to assist in moving to universal accessibility.

Principles of Physical Literacy

  • FUN!
  • Purposeful, progressive & challenging,
  • Always moving,
  • Everyone included & participant centred.
    • Get to know your participants and what works for them.
    • Know their limitations, and yours!
    • Adaptations are for everyone!

Celebrate opportunities of diversity

  • Create a culture of inclusion, where everyone is welcome every time
  • Cultivate a top down & bottom up approach
  • Promote genuine buy-in to this as an important part of what you do as an organization
  • Be open to learning – ask for feedback and make changes to address what comes up

The Portage Model

The Portage Model for Early Intervention, which originated in Portage, Wisconsin, USA, was developed in response to the growing need to provide services at home to young children with disabilities living in rural communities. The model has now been adopted in 90 countries and translated into more than 30 languages.

There are three essential elements to the Portage Model, offering a framework of support that respects each family and their own individual priorities. The model is a dynamic one with different aspects taking precedence at different times, adapting flexibly to the individual needs of each child and family.

 

Because the role of a child’s parents and family is critical to the child’s successful early development, the first priority is to support family members in their own ho­mes to become more confident and competent when there are concerns about a child’s development. The Portage Model provides well-structured assessment and learning procedures and an individualized curriculum based on the child’s current level of development and the family’s own priorities and resources. Although the home is regarded as the natural learning environment, the model can also be cen­tre-based in the local community, as in Japan.

Because the role of a child’s parents and family is critical to the child’s successful early development, the first priority is to support family members in their own ho­mes to become more confident and competent when there are concerns about a child’s development. The Portage Model provides well-structured assessment and learning procedures and an individualized curriculum based on the child’s current level of development and the family’s own priorities and resources. Although the home is regarded as the natural learning environment, the model can also be cen­tre-based in the local community, as in Japan.

Checklist for Leaders working with Inclusion for Disabilities

Auditory

  • What can they hear?
  • Do they use hearing aids or other devices?
  • Clear pronunciation
  • Make sure they can see your mouth
  • Visuals
  • Learn some simple sign language

Visual

  • What does a person who has a visual impairment see?
  • Clear instructions
  • Tactile boundaries
  • Pre-program orientation
  • Equipment that makes noise
  • Big, bright equipment (depending on functional vision)

Physical

E.g. Cerebral Palsy, dystrophies, amputations, congenital conditions, injuries, etc.

  • Ask questions
  • Trial and error
  • What can the participant do?

Intellectual Disabilities

E.g. Down Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder, Fragile X Syndrome, etc.

  • Clear, concise rules
  • Know your athlete
  • Visually demonstrate, audibly tell them, and if necessary, prompt, move their body to show them (with permission)

 

 

 

Autism Spectrum

“If you have met one kid with autism, then you have met one kid with autism”

  • Clear, concise, rules with simple, and not too many, steps
  • Behaviour Support Tools7
  • Reward boards
  • Countdown boards
  • Equipment
  • Location

Invisible/Mental Health

Everything mentioned so far can be ‘Invisible’

  • Anxiety, bipolar disorder, extreme fatigue, phobias
  • Get to know your participants
  • Ask questions, tell parents/guardians what you are noticing

 

 

 

Health (disease)

E.g.Cancer, HIV/AIDS, heart disease, obesity,injuries, allergies, asthma, diabetes, arthritis, migraines, etc.

  • Are there protocols in place?
  • Have you done a ´pre-screen´?
  • How does it affect their activity levels?
  • Fatigue
  • Injury
  • Vision asymmetry

Outdoor sports and exercises

1. Ga-ga ball

Visual disabilities

”Ga-ga ball” is a kinder variant of “dodge ball” or ”killer ball”, specially adapted for players with impaired sight. All players are in a crawling position. The ball has an internal bell and must not be thrown. It is rolled along the ground by hitting it with an arm, hand, fist and as the ball is always rolling, the ball can always be heard.

 

If the ball touches a player on a part of their body other than their arms or hands then that player is out of the game and sits on the bench. The ball can only be punched or pushed away if the ball is not moving (bell is not heard anymore). The players must first try to avoid a moving ball by crawling away from it.

When a pre-agreed number of players are sitting on the bench they call out: “the bench is free” and the game is over; and a new game can start. The risk of play­ers colliding with each other is small as all players are crawling and no players are running. The ball must not be thrown so there is a low risk for the players being hit with a fast ball.

Materials and preparations:

  • Ball with internal bell.
  • Bench.
  • Flat ground, ideally with surrounding walls/barriers for the ball to bounce off and remain in the game.
  • Size of playing area is dependent on number of players.

2. Horse and rider

Physical disabilities

Horse and rider is a game that exercises cooperation and attention. One person has the role of play leader. The others are divided into pairs where one person is the ”horse”, and one person is the ”rider”. The ”horse” has a rope around their body and under their arms (reins). The ”rider” holds the reins. The play leader holds up flags, or something similar, with different colours. Each colour represents a different command that each horse and rider should follow:

green = run forward,

red = stop,

blue = reverse

yellow = eat oats at the edge of the play area.

After a while, the horse and rider change roles and a new play leader is chosen.

Materials and preparations:

  • One rope per pair
  • Something to show colors with, such as flags or printed pieces of paper, or scarves.

3. Dino-kull

Intellectual disabilities

All but two players lie on the ground like stones in a ring, covering their eyes with their arms and hands. The ring should be fairly big, no less than four to five meters in diameter None of the players acting like stones are allowed to look up. The two players that are not stones are dinosaurs, where one is the hunter/chaser and the other is the hunted/chased. For the hunted dinosaur to become free, he/she lies close to one of the stones and those two players trade places. The person that was the stone now becomes the hunted dinosaur and to be free he/she must in turn find another stone to lie next to. If the hunted dinosaur gets caught by the hunting/chasing dinosaur, the roles of hunter and hunted are reversed.

 

This is a chasing game that can last forever. To make sure everyone has an oppor­tunity to be a dinosaur, the stones that have not been dinosaurs can make noises to help indicate where/who the hunted dinosaur can lie down next to. Those who lie like stones must try not to look up so that there is more of a surprise when the hunted dinosaur lies next to them. The risk of collision is minimal as there are only two people in motion at a time.

4. Outdoor Monopoly

Autism spectrum

The basic rules are the same as in the traditional game of Monopoly™ but where the board pieces are the physical play­ers. Draw up the Monopoly™ gameboard using chalk on an asphalt/tarmac area, e.g. school playground, large enough so that 1-2 people can stand on the ‘property’ squares. Allow for players in whe­elchairs.

 Follow the rules of Monopoly™. This is an outdoor learning activity that everyone can participate in and where the players also learn geography, mathe­matics, and language.

Materials and preparations:

  • Monopoly™ game for reference and rules.
  • Chalk to draw up ‘people-size’ Monopoly™ gameboard outside in school playground.
  • Self-made, plastic-coated, A3 size, Monopoly™ cards
  • Monopoly™, or pretend, money
  • Pieces of wood, or similar, that correspond to Monopoly™ houses/hotels.
  • Two large dice (can be made from wood, rubber, or foam)
  • One purse/bag/wallet per player to hold Monopoly™ money.
  • Game pieces in this game are the participants themselves

5. Build statues

Neuropsychiatric disability

The players are divided into groups and given the task of building statues by themselves. E.g. a group of three players can only have four feet and three hands on the ground. Players can also get vario­us challenges such as making a statue as tall as possible or a statue representing something of their own choosing. A variant of the game is that the groups work in pairs, where one group builds a statue of themselves of their own design and the other groups then try to imitate by building a similar statue. 

There are many different and fun variations, e.g. where all players collaborate to build a massive statue.
Detailed descriptions of other examples of sports/exercises for children with disabilities from Slovenia, Croatia, Romania and Italy can be found in the document that is attached in the link below. We also included a document with different best practices from the partner countries to motivate children to participate in sort activities.

The whole sport program Active Park, with examples of outdoor sports for children with disabilities from project partner countries can be downloaded below.

“You have to follow your dreams, don’t give up. Disability does not mean you can’t do anything, you still have ability.”

Matt Crossen – Football 7-A-Side

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