Section Three: Step-by-Step Strategies to Develop, Implement, and Evaluate a CSPAP
Many of the concepts in Section Three do not need detailed explanation to be inclusive of children and youth with disabilities. There are five key concepts to keep in mind in the development, implementation and evaluation of the CSPAP.
1. Involve people with disabilities or representatives on committees.
It is vital that any group or committee convened to implement CSPAP includes people that understand and represent the needs of students with disabilities. The phrase “Nothing about us, without us” is often used to represent the inclusion of people with disabilities in program planning. Committee members representing the needs of students with disabilities can include special education teachers, parents of students with disabilities, and students with disabilities. Parents of students with disabilities are an especially important voice and resource, as they can not only bring representation, but also support implementation in the classroom and within the family. A committee should also include representatives from community based disability organizations such as adapted sports programs or Centers for Independent Living, which can support community engagement.
2. Keep people with disabilities or those that represent the interests of people with disabilities involved in all aspects of the CSPAP from development through evaluation.
The involvement of people with disabilities does not end in the planning stages. The inclusion of people with disabilities and/or their representatives throughout the CSPAP process demonstrates a commitment to the effort to make physical activity in school relevant to students with various disabilities.
3. Assess inclusion of students with disabilities and other issues specific to physical activity and students with disabilities.
Assessments must include some measure of inclusion and participation specific to children and youth with disabilities. Most assessments discussed in the CSPAP do not include a detailed assessment of the inclusion of children and youth with disabilities in physical activity programs. Module 3 of the School Health Index includes some general questions about accessibility and a section on “special health care needs.” In order to fully assess existing physical activity programs and practices as they relate to children and youth with disabilities, it may be necessary to develop additional questions. Here are some examples:
• Are physical activity goals included in IEP’s of students with disabilities?
• Do physical education teachers receive additional training on working with students with disabilities?
• Do students with disabilities participate in physical education classes with peers without disabilities?
• Is a minimum recess time required for all students, including students with disabilities?
• Do teachers and other staff receive disability awareness training?
• Are intramural or after-school adapted sports programs available to students with disabilities?
• Are playgrounds or outdoor play spaces accessible?
4. Provide specific wording throughout that includes children and youth with disabilities.
Avoid relying on the word “all” as the only indication that children and youth with disabilities are included. Include goals and objectives and outcomes that are specific to children and youth with disabilities in each area of the CSPAP.
5. Be creative. Fully including children and youth with disabilities might require “thinking outside of the box.”