Disabled Children in Sports


Can children with disabilities participate in sports? Are there any precautions required for the activity? What benefits can these children obtain? All these questions are important and many issues are brought up concerning the involvement of disabled children in organised sports. Children with disabilities are more noticeable in today’s society compared to that of probably five decades ago. This change is attributed to the general public is more accustomed to seeing disabled persons in public settings. And this presence is carried over into the world of sports. Disabled children are now actively involved in numerous activities in places such as the public schools and in recreation programs. The wide involvement exhibits the desire that these children have and demonstrates that they can be just as active participants, despite their disability.

With participation in sports, precautions need to be taken to ensure the safety of the children. Both abled and disabled. These precautions include the environment [field, court, etc.], equipment, and knowledge of the rules in sports. Specifically for the disabled child, understanding their disability and their limitations are crucial for the success in sport.

Benefits for the disabled child athlete are very much like those of the able-bodied child. These benefits are not just limited to the physical health, but also include the psychological health, including the cognitive, social, affective, and moral development of children. The opportunity to participate in activity allows the child to feel good about themselves. It produces a sense of well-being. In addition, when a child successfully masters a skill, this can improve their self-concept, self-esteem, and self-confidence.

There are numerous organizations that have been developed for participation in sports of disabled persons. Some of which include the Special Olympics, International Sports Organization for the Disabled, International Committee of Sports for the Deaf, and International Paralympic Committee. However, more non-profit organizations for sports for the disabled are easily accessible in your local directories or using the Internet search.

Participation in sports can be used as a venue to aid in the development of a disabled child. Through this involvement, children can develop not only physically but also mentally. It will help in the child’s growth and encouraging positive outcomes later in life.

DePauw, Karen and Susan Gavron. (1995). Disability and Sport. Champaign: Human Kinetics.
Goldberg, Barry. (1995). Sports and Exercise for Children With Chronic Health Conditions. Champaign: Human Kinetics.
Paciorek, Michael and Jeffery Jones. (1994) Sports and Recreation for the Disabled. Carmel: Cooper Publishing Group.