The Department of Education has stated that schools must provide opportunities for students with disabilities to participate in school sports programs. This includes intramural type sports as well as extracurricular teams.
As I ponder what this means, I’m struck by two positive thoughts:
1. This could be as revolutionary for students with disabilities as Title IX was for women’s sports.
2. This is right up my alley as an adapted PE teacher and coach. What can I do to help parents, schools and kids get the full benefit of my knowledge and experience?
Of course, I also think of the problems and questions this brings up. For instance, what qualifies as a disability? If I’m overweight and not a good basketball player does it mean I have a right to be on the team. Does it end cutting of kids from teams (maybe not a bad idea)?
How much is it going to cost? It might take more equipment, coaches and training to make facilities and resources appropriate for disabled athletes.
Will schools have to end their programs? A lot of smaller men’s programs ended when Title IX started because the numbers had to be equal.
Also, most of the schools do a pretty poor job of servicing their disabled students for PE…how are they going to do it for extracurricular sports programs?
(On a side not, most schools PE programs are underfunded. They are required to have a minimum number of hours but most don’t come close. That’s another story.)
What ever happens, I think this is going to have some large impacts on our schools, our sports, and maybe for Athletic Skills for Kids.