Director's Corner: Children with Disabilities Missing on America?s Playgrounds
In every community across America, families spend Saturday mornings or afternoons driving their children to various sporting events. The family outing provides the backdrop for what many say is a relief from the rigors of work. Getting out of the house for a couple of hours to watch a child participate in a recreational sport with other children in the neighborhood builds a nice synergy between neighbors, and often leads to lifelong friendships.
I experienced this weekly ritual for 16 years with both my daughters. Fall was the most enjoyable season. On crisp autumn days in late September and October, the soccer fields were filled with children chasing after black-and-white-checkered balls. Winter months were spent in indoor soccer and basketball, and spring and summer were reserved for softball. In each of those 16 years, never once did either of my daughters have a teammate with a disability.
Children with disabilities are not provided the same opportunities as their non-disabled peers to participate in integrated sports programs. With a few minor rule changes and adaptations, the goal of having fun could be attained by every child with and without a disability. Sports for children should mean sports for ALL children, with no footnotes attached.
Read the entire column at http://www.ncpad.org/185/1364/2004-03~Issue~~Children~with~Disabilities~Missing~on~