Athletics for All has compiled introductory sport specific guidelines and best practices for the following adapted sports which are considered easy to adapt to mainstream interscholastic sports.

Sports are Important for Students with Physical Disabilities

Benefits for students with disabilities who participate in sports are similar to students without disabilities

  • Supports academics: students are more likely to have better grades, schools attendance and lower dropout rate
  • Builds discipline, self-esteem, confidence and independence
  • Enforces teamwork, skill development and goal setting
  • Promotes healthy lifestyle
  • Can be a predictor of later successes in college, career and community
  • Promotes inclusion through training and competition
  • Increases school and community pride
  • Educates the community about the capabilities of individuals with physical disabilities
  • The number of students with disabilities in the U.S. is nearly 246,000 according to the 2012 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Census. This includes students with visual and orthopedic impairments, and traumatic brain
Sports Models

Integrated (mainstream/inclusive): Students with disabilities participate alongside students without disabilities

  • Alpine Skiing
  • Track and Field
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Track and Field

Adapted: Disability specific team sports

  • Boccia
  • Goalball
  • Sitting Volleyball
  • Wheelchair basketball

Unified/Modified: Sports designed for individuals with intellectual disabilities and can include individuals with physical disabilities

Introduction to Adaptive Sports

An introduction to adaptive sports can be found here. Additional information can be found here:

Getting Your Adapted Sports Program Started
  1. Assess community school programs and needs
  2. Identify students with disabilities to participate
  3. Evaluate existing models in other states and see what kind of model would be a good fit for your district/city
  4. Use Athletics for All guidelines as a starting point to develop a plan
  • standardized seasons
  • regular-season and post-season competition
  • rule modifications
  • modify policies
  • establish process for conducting individualized assessment
  • safety guidelines
  • inclusive policies and procedures
  • identify schools that want to participate
  • host training session(s) for school coaches and officials
  1. Implement program


For more information contact:
Huayra Gomez-Garcia:

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