Participation in physical activity is an important part of life, important for both physical and emotional wellbeing. Despite this, individuals with physical, emotional or mental disability often struggle to get the same level of access to physical activity. Luckily, special needs sport is providing a way for those living with a disability to participate in physical pursuits despite their limitations. But what exactly is special needs sport and what are the benefits of taking part? In this article, we will look at the different types of special needs sports, the potential benefits of taking part, and answer some of the most commonly asked questions about getting involved.
Special needs sports provide a method for disabled individuals to take part in their chosen sport or physical activity. Depending on their disability or impairments, different levels of support are available to make sure that everyone’s needs are met. Special needs sports gives participants the tools they need to enjoy their chosen sport and discover the physical, social and emotional benefits that regular exercise can bring.
Types of Special Needs Sport
1. Blind Sports: There are plenty of sports designed specifically for those with impaired eyesight, such as goalball and five-a-side football. Both of these sports use adapted equipment to make them as accessible as possible.
2. Deaf Sports: Sports like swimming, basketball and football are available for those who have difficulty hearing. Again, adapted equipment, such as swimming caps that vibrate underwater, make these sports more available to those with hearing difficulties.
3. Wheelchair Sports: Wheelchair sports come in many forms, from participating in wheelchair rugby league to wheelchair racing. There is even a version of wheelchair basketball specifically designed for those with learning difficulties.
4. Adaptive Sports: Adaptive sports, such as skiing, kayaking and archery, are suitable for those with physical and mental impairments. They use adapted equipment and trainers can help participants find the best way to enjoy their chosen sport.
Solutions For Disability
Enabling disabled individuals to participate in sport can result in an even playing field where everyone has an equal opportunity to achieve. Special needs sports organisations offer specific training and therapy, which helps individuals access sport and activities regardless of their disability. Additionally, professionals can create tailored programmes to ensure participants have access to the right level of support.
Benefits Of Taking Part
1. Physical Benefits: It is widely known that regular physical activity improves overall health and wellbeing. Special needs sports give participants the opportunity to get involved in physical activity, providing a wealth of physical health benefits.
2. Social Benefits: Special needs sports create a way for those with disability to meet and socialise with other people going through similar challenges. This can help build a support network and improve their mental wellbeing.
3. Emotional Benefits: Taking part in physical activity relieves stress, boosts self-confidence, and releases endorphins, creating a positive outlook. Furthermore, it also increases feelings of accomplishment, which can help individuals tackle challenges in their day-to-day lives.
1. Is there a need for special needs sports?
Yes, there is a need for special needs sports. Taking part in physical activity is just as important for those with disability as it is for those without; however, there can be additional challenges for those with disability when it comes to accessing sports and activities. Special needs sports create an equal playing field, allowing everyone to get involved in something they enjoy.
2.Who can benefit from special needs sports?
Anyone with a physical, emotional or mental impairment, who might struggle to take part in regular sports, can hugely benefit from special needs sports. There are a wide range of sports available, ranging from skiing to wheelchair rugby, and even programs designed specifically for those with learning disabilities.
3. How can I get involved in special needs sports?
Most cities across the world have access to special needs sport programs. Start by doing some research into the different providers near you and contact them directly to find out what is available.
Special needs sport is a great way for individuals with physical and mental impairments to get involved with physical activity. There are a range of sports tailored to different levels of impairment and specific programmes available for those with learning disabilities. Even though there can be challenges to overcome when finding a suitable sport, the potential benefits of participation in terms of physical, social and emotional wellbeing are incredibly rewarding.
Special needs sports are invaluable to those with disability; they are a medium to stay fit and healthy, make friends, build self-esteem and improve their outlook. Those lucky enough to be involved can find solace and a renewed passion for the sport or physical activity they love. It’s never too late to get involved and the rewards of discovering that participation in sport is something you can do, no matter what the limitations, are immeasurable.