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Physical Activity and People With Disabilities

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Alex Kelsch

on 5 December 2013

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Transcript of Physical Activity and People With Disabilities

Physical Activity and People
With Disabilities

Physical Activity Guidelines for People with Disabilities
The Canadian Guidelines for Physical Activity are age group specific and there are no evidence-based guidelines for people living with various cognitive and/or physical disabilities.
CSEP (2011), recommends that people living with a disability or medical condition follow the same guidelines outlined for the healthy population.
There are many options available for people with disabilities to be active whether its fitness based, pleasure and participation, or power and performance
CSEP recommends that Canadians participate in 30-60 min/day of moderate physical activity such as brisk walk, jogging, cycling, etc.

However for someone with a disability these activities would be considered vigorous activities as the energy requirement to wheel 1km is far greater than the energy required to walk 1km. In addition these activities may be inappropriate if not impossible for those in a wheel-chair, or for those who are unable to weight-bear.
This oversight has been recognized by CSEP which is currently working on developing guidelines for people with various disabilities. Guidelines have recently been published for people with MS, Spinal Cord Injury and Parkinson’s Disease.
Reduce stigmas
Encourage socialization
Promotes independence
Provide empowerment

Benefits of sports

A stigma is a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person

Sport reduces stigmas

“Jack now plays hockey on an adult “Adaptive Needs” hockey team for people with disabilities. At first he didn’t want to join as he doesn’t see himself as different or as having a disability—and we never discuss it as that’s just a label we don’t want him to wear and feel bad about.”
Sport reduces stigmas
Sport can be a place for them to be seen for their abilities, rather than their disabilities.

People with and without disabilities interact with each other in a positive context causing a change in assumptions about what a disabled person is capable of doing. In turn, this will alter community’s attitudes towards those with disabilities
Role of media
Media coverage can increase the awareness of the capabilities of those with disabilities
“…most athletes would choose distorted coverage rather than no coverage at all. They want to be acknowledged and reaffirmed for their athletic competence and hope that becoming visible through the media will weaken and break down stereotypes” (Coakley, 2009)
Limited to those with disabilities by exclusion from opportunities in:
Sports and physical activity enable those with disabilities to acquire these skills and make friendships
Coaches and teammates may act as role models to which may teach communication and cooperation

Independence is so important because for those with disabilities they are often thought of as dependant or “incapable”
-dependence for those with disabilities is created by those around them
Physical benefits:
promotes muscle strength, flexibility, joint structure and function
Leads to reduction in injuries from falls and greater ability to complete daily activities
Mental benefits:
Social-emotional development
Express creativity
Develop a self-identity

Empowerment means to give power too or to promote the self-actualization
-regularly are powerless in the way that they have no control over their conditions

-To make improvements in their lives may be hard without being provided the knowledge and tools needed to do so
How does sport provide a means for empowerment?
By allowing groups to come together, they are provided with the information they need to learn about the importance of physical activities as well as communication and teamwork skills
Become role models that others can look up to
1. Emotional and Psychological

2. The Built and Natural Environment

3. Economical

Meet Drew

Special Olympics Athlete
Track Field

-Swims at Oak Bay Rec
-Private lessons once a week
- Walks at least 6 times per week

Barriers to Physical Activity
3 Most Common Barriers
Emotional and Psychological
-Negative perceptions
-Parents or caregivers


-Foster awareness and sensitivity
-Change in perception of facility owners and workers

A large component of [the swim] club was social and he wasn’t able to participate in this way, and the club members didn’t seem able or desirous to include him. No one was unkind, but no real effort was made to include him socially... He needed more 'hands on support' such as he got at [the] Special Olympics and this club really didn't have the resources to give Drew all the individual support he required."
- Patricia Murray (Drew's Mother)
Drew at the Summer Games 2013
Special Olympics Motto
‘Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt’
The Built and Natural Environment
Architectural barriers
Transportation barriers

- Planning and modifying stages
(aquatic lifts, elevators, ramps, adapted strength training equipment )
- Change in perception and attitudes of facility owners

In Victoria:
BC Transit – Community Travel Training Program, Ambassador Program
Oak Bay Recreation Centre
CRD – Everyone’s Parks and Trails
-Participation fees
-Transport fees

-Planning stages of facilities (reduce renovation costs)
-Financial Assistance
-Rick Hansen Foundation
“…Drew didn’t meet the criteria for reduced fees. Regular fees were too high so he stopped the Y[MCA] and began swimming at different rec centres.”

- Patricia Murray
“Sport gives Drew the opportunity to relate [to] others and to be part of a team, [which] gives his life balance… It is a great learning experience, gets him involved with others having fun, presents challenges, and allows him to know the pleasure of success”
– Patricia Murray (Drew’s mother)

" Until you have a disability or are limited in some way you do not fully appreciate your ability to engage in physical activity. I think the general public takes their ‘ability’ to participate in physical activities for granted. When activities are made accessible to people with disabilities I think they experience a sense of joy that is beyond what most of us experience.”
International Level
At the international level there are three Olympic-level competitive games:

-The Deaflympics (for those with hearing impairments)

-The Paralympics (for those with all other forms of physical disabilities such as limb loss and blindness)

-The Special Olympics (for those with intellectual disabilities).
Locally in Victoria many organizations work with the goal of inclusion of people with disabilities. For example:

-Recreation Integration Victoria (RIV)
-Inclusion BC
-Sport Ability BC
-Victoria Integration Society
Queen Alexandria Centre for Children's Health
At QACCH, there are many programs for children with disabilities. Basketball and rock climbing are a few examples of the sports children can play.

The staff there are trained for rehabilitation purposes and are not recreation experts. They do however possess the necessary training to run these programs properly for children with many different issues.

These programs are in high demand but QACCH cannot provide any more programs. It is up to the community to support and volunteer for these activities to thrive.
Recreation Integration Victoria (RIV)
Recreation Integration Victoria is a combined service who's mission is to have all people with disabilities to have equal opportunities to participate in the community.

-Leisure Planning and Referral

-Leisure Assistance Program

-Training and Education

-Community Partnerships

-Leisure Assistant's Pass
Inclusion BC
Inclusion BC is a provincial non-profit organization that works to promote the participation of people with developmental disabilities in all aspects of community life.
Some of their goals:
-Advocacy support
-Education and training
-Network support
-Systems change
-Public awareness
RIV also works closely with the Victoria Integration Society and the Disabled Sailing Association
Citizens for Accessible Neighbourhoods BC (CAN BC)
CAN is a non-profit organization based in Vancouver, BC that is working towards full inclusion of people with disabilities. They hope to achieve this through education, promotion, and advocacy.
On their website you can:
-search for activites by disability, alphatbetical or location
-find inclusive playgrounds
-watch disability awareness and training videos
-look up transportation information
Opportunities: Insider Scoop
Odessa Flett, a special needs worker with her Teachers Assistant Certificate, POPARD Autism training and non violent crisis training:

"I think there are many opportunities for disabled children in our community. There is Baseball, Hockey, bowling, swimming, basketball and many other organized sport programs for disabled children. The schools also provide sports opportunities and daily physical activity. There is also Operation Track shoes, and the special Olympics which children look forward to year long and is a very social event for them.
Who’s Affected?
Disability is expressed as “a physical or mental limitation in a social context”
There are more than a billion people world wide who are living with a disability
4.4 million Canadians or 14.3% of the population
Common Disabilities
Visual impairments

Hearing impairments

Impairments caused by injury to the musculoskeletal system (amputation, SCI)

Impairments caused by birth or hereditary defects (cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy)

Paraplegia and quadriplegia

All have serious sociological implications and individuals are often defined in society by their disability and seen as "unhealthy" because of it
Health Concerns
Only 31% of Canadians living with a disability report their health status being in good or excellent condition
-Compared to 76% of non-disabled Canadians

They have increased need of health services and prescription medication, and spend a greater amount of time in hospital

More likely to report chronic conditions

At higher risk for CVD, diabetes, and obesity, which is in part due to a lack of participation in physical activity.
What we investigated:
-Physical activity guidelines for people with a disability
-Barriers to participating in physical activity
-Benefits of participating in physical activity
-What opportunities are out there now?
-What are some ways to improve the rate of participation in physical activity for people with a disability?
8 k. Good Life Marathon
October 13th, 2013
`"Once the organized sports stopped for Jack, he found skateboarding. He did that all on his own. He loved it because it was something he could do independently, where he could make cool friends, where he was accepted for who he was, and something he could work at on his own without being measured by some sort of organization with rules. In that way, skateboarding was perfect for him.``
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