While most people have the cognitive and physical ability and freedom to choose an activity that looks like fun and go for it, those with unique special needs may not be able to participate so easily, especially in sports!
Sadly, too many people with special needs and disabilities don't have the luxury of getting themselves out into the community to participate in sports or other activities that the rest of us just take for granted.
Finding sports opportunities that special needs individuals can easily and comfortably participate in often poses quite a challenge!
Yet everyone, including those with special needs and disabilities should be afforded the opportunity to participate in the sport of their choice!
There are three things that some individuals with disabilities or special needs may require to be able to fully enjoy and participate in community sports opportunities:
1 - The assistance and supervision of another responsible adult to ensure safety.
2 - Special understanding and accommodations.
3 - Physical modifications to the environment or equipment.
Many people with special needs do much better participating in sports opportunities designed and created especially for people just like themselves, who share similar special needs.
Some children and adults with special needs may require a bit more structure, supervision, assistance and accommodation in order for sports participation to truly be enjoyable experiences.
Below is a list of agencies and sports programs in the US and UK for those with special needs or disabilities:
1) For an extensive list of special needs sports opportunities in the UK, check out The National Disability Sport Organisations.
2) Horizon Sports Club (UK) is a registered charity which provides a unique after-school sports club for children and young people with disabilities, living in South Buckinghamshire, the opportunity to develop both physically and socially through the enjoyment of sport.
3) ABLEize (UK) is the largest disabled recreation and sports resource on the Internet
4) Oxfordshire Sport and Physical Activity (UK) also has a lengthy list of special needs sports opportunities available on their website.
5) Disabled Sports USA provides adaptive sports opportunities for people with disabilities to develop independence, confidence, and fitness through sports.
6) The Miracle League (USA) provides opportunities for children with disabilities to play Miracle League baseball, regardless of their abilities.
7) Surfer's Way (USA) is a non-profit organization designed to offer children with special needs the opportunity to experience the exhilaration and liberation of surfing.
8) Educated Sports Parent (USA) has a long list of special needs sports organizations available on their website!