Performing an Activity Analysis
By Meagan Rowe
Working and developing activities for kids with physical disabilities is part of what I do every week. I look forward to working with my co-workers to find creative ways to keep our kids active and promote inclusion in their school programs, neighborhoods, and anywhere else they might spend much of their time. A large problem that I run into while searching for different activities is that I find almost all the resources out there are made for people who do not have a disability. Seldom do I find games/activities that are specifically geared toward kids who have a disability. But that does not mean that we give up and exclude people. We adapt.
As a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS), I (as well as any of you) can find an activity, analyze it, and make any modifications that may be needed. This is called an Activity Analysis. Here are a few tips on performing an Activity Analysis in order to modify any kind of activity to fit your needs:
1. Analyze the activity, first, as it is typically engaged in. Consider the activity as it is normally carried out, without any modification. Analyze the activity in its truest form. It is important that you keep in mind the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional requirements involved in the activity.
2. Analyze the activity without regard for any specific disability group. This will come later, in the modification stage.
3. Analyze the activity with regard to the minimal level of skill required for basic, successful participation. Look at the game or activity and consider what skills are required for the most basic but successful involvement, not the level of skill needed for a professional athlete, for example, but the skills needed to complete the game successfully. Doing so will ensure that all participants will most likely find the activity enjoyable.
Once you have taken a closer look at the activity in question, you can make any modifications that may be needed. Follow these tips when doing so:
1. Try to keep the activity as close to the traditional activity as possible. Too much modification can mean that the skills learned by the participant are less likely to be transferred to inclusive settings (school, home, friends).
2. Modify only the aspect that needs adapting. Maybe the rules need to be simplified, but the physical activity can remain the same, or the equipment should be modified, but the physical activity will remain the same.
3. Individualize any modification made. No two people with the same disability have the same adaptation needs. Therefore, each person will need their own consideration when analyzing and modifying an activity.
4. The modification should be as temporary as possible. Help the participant build the skills and knowledge to participate in the traditional activity to the fullest extent possible.
This is a simple way to take a game or activity and make it fit your needs for whatever population you may be working with. Whether you work with kids or adults, in a recreational or clinical setting, performing an activity analysis can benefit you as well as your participants.