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The Importance of Promoting the Participation of Children with Disabilities in Sports and Tips to Implement it at Home

An important part of childhood is participating in sports. Most of us grew up playing baseball, basketball or soccer with our friend from their neighborhood. Physical activity provides many benefits for children, including those with disabilities. According to the Institute on Disability/UCED, approximately 7% of the US population accounts for children with disability. However, there is a lack of opportunities for their participation in recreational sports and physical activities. In recent years, many efforts have been made from different international organizations to try to close this gap and create more opportunities. Despite these efforts, an increasing number of children with disabilities have reported low levels of cardiorespiratory strength, less muscular endurance, and higher rates of obesity than typical children.

Benefits of sport participation

The main reason to participate in sports is to increase physical activity to help reverse impaired mobility, optimize physical functioning, and increase overall well-being. Playing sports plays a fundamental role in the maintenance of normal muscle strength, flexibility and a better joint structure and function. Good levels of muscular strength and endurance help increase bone mass, reduce injuries from falls, and provide a greater ability to complete daily activities.
By participating in sports children can leave behind a sedentary lifestyle that leads to obesity and other health complications. Sports participation also enhances the psychological well-being of children with disabilities; it provides opportunities to make friends, be creative, develop self-identity and live a more meaningful life. For example, Special Olympics athletes show better self-esteem, physical competence, and peer acceptance when compared with non-participants. Finally, participation in regular physical activity can foster independence, coping abilities, competitiveness, and teamwork among children with disabilities.

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Mindfulness

photo of Reilly HowardLife is crazy. In the blink of an eye, everything can change. That’s how fast things move- in the blink of an eye. As lovers of sport and recreation, its easy to understand the appeal of a fast-moving lifestyle. Though this begs the question, what happens when things move too fast? Sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the breakneck pace of the world around us. When the physical world gets to be too much, we often attempt to retreat into our own minds. Yet just as often, people are met with an unsettling amount of anxiety and stressful thoughts within the mind. Enter the practice of mindfulness.

Mindfulness is seemingly the buzzword of the late 2010s. Every fitness guru, professional athlete, and social media influencer is seemingly screaming “you have to practice mindfulness!” from the top of their lungs. Sure, that’s all fine and well, but what exactly is mindfulness? This term can be defined as “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” (Jaret, et.al, 2020). Mindfulness is essentially finding peace and quiet in one's own mind. It sounds simple enough, sure. Yet remember those unsettling thoughts I talked about earlier? Well, how in the world are we supposed to find peace and quiet inside our own mind with those there? The answer is mindfulness.

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Executive Director's Message - August 2020

Miracle Sports - Fall 2020

Those of you that are not in Tallahassee may not know about our Miracle Sports program. Since 2008, we have played just about every Thursday night on an accessible surface. The games are adapted so everyone can play and benefit from team sports. We have had so much fun!

This fall, we have some new ideas so more people can join in. With the help of our interns and Florida State University Sport Management students and Florida International University Therapeutic Recreation students,  we have some awesome new things on the horizon. The following will be offered on our Facebook page and you will not need to register:

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