A Guide to Inclusive Physical Activity Programs
An Addendum to the Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs: A Guide for Schools
About this Guide
National efforts have been implemented to reverse the trends of youth physical inactivity and childhood obesity by focusing on increasing physical activity during the school day. Children and youth with disabilities are often not fully included in these efforts, yet often experience even greater rates of physical inactivity and obesity.
The Comprehensive School Activity Program (CSPAP) provides the national framework for increasing physical activity in schools. To insure youth with disabilities are included in these efforts, this Guide provides additional information on the implementation of the CSPAP in each program area.
The goal of the Guide to Inclusive School Physical Activity Programs is to promote inclusion of children and youth with disabilities in school physical activity programs. Inclusion assumes that all children, regardless of ability or disability, have the right to:
• Be respected and appreciated as valuable members of the school community
• Fully participate in all school activities
• Interact with peers of all ability levels with opportunities to develop friendships and learn and respect differences
Guidelines for Disability Inclusion
The Guidelines for Disability Inclusion in Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity Program Initiatives were developed to assist in the updating of community health programs and policies to be inclusive of the needs of people with disabilities. Schools, as part of the community, can use these same guidelines to promote inclusion within the school setting for children and youth with disabilities. The guidelines are as follows:
1. Objectives Include People with Disabilities:
Program objectives should explicitly and unambiguously state that the target population includes people with a range of different disabilities (cognitive, intellectual and other developmental disabilities, mobility, visual, hearing, and mental health disabilities).
2. Involvement of People with Disabilities in Development, Implementation and Evaluation:
Program development, implementation, and evaluation should include input from people with a range of different disabilities and their representatives (e.g., community members or other experts with disabilities, potential participants with disabilities and their family members, personal assistants, and caregivers).
3. Program Accessibility:
Programs should be accessible to people with disabilities and other users socially, behaviorally, programmatically, in communication, and in the physical environment.
4. Accommodations for Participants with Disabilities:
Programs should address individual needs of participants with disabilities through accommodations that are specifically tailored to those needs.
5. Outreach and Communication to People with Disabilities:
Programs should use a variety of accessible methods to outreach and promote the program(s) to people with disabilities.
6. Cost Considerations and Feasibility:
Programs should address potential resource implications of inclusion (including staffing, training, equipment, and other resources needed to promote inclusion).
Programs should be affordable to people with disabilities and their families, personal assistants, and caregivers.
8. Process Evaluation:
Programs should implement process evaluation (with transparent monitoring, accountability and quality assurance) that includes feedback from people with disabilities and family members, personal assistants, caregivers or other representatives, and a process for making changes based on feedback.
9. Outcomes Evaluation:
Programs should collect outcomes data, using multiple disability appropriate measures.
Guidelines for Disability Inclusion in Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity Program Initiatives
Commit to Inclusion
How to Use the Guide to Inclusive School Physical Activity Programs
This Guide should be used in conjunction with the Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program: A Guide for Schools. The Guide includes section headings followed by a page number, which refers to a corresponding page in the CSPAP. Original material from the CSPAP is in italics . You will want to read this section in its entirety and then return to the Guide to consider the additional concepts specific to inclusion. Some sections do not require further information on inclusion.
The purpose of this guide is to provide step-by-step guidance to schools and school districts to develop, implement, and evaluate comprehensive school physical activity programs. The guide can be read and utilized by a group that either already exists (e.g., school health council or wellness committee) or a new group or committee that is made up of physical education coordinators and teachers, classroom teachers, school administrators, recess super visors, before- and afterschool program supervisors, parents, and community members. It can be used to develop a new comprehensive school physical activity program or assess and improve an existing one. This document was developed to provide guidance and evidence to support voluntary school efforts that are focused on youth physical activity programs. CSPAP Page 5
Full inclusion begins with the recognition that children and youth with disabilities are integral members of the school community and must be more than just acknowledged as an afterthought. Physical activity programs within a school should address the needs of all students in the school community including those with a disability. In doing so, it is important to bring together those that represent needs of children and youth with disabilities.