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Many developed sports leagues are tailored toward non-disabled children and adults, even though, in the United States, about 26 percent of the population live with a disability and one out of every three people within this population want to participate in sports (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2020a; Activity Alliance, 2018). This ultimately leads to decreased sporting opportunities for individuals with disabilities. This higher rate of development of sports leagues for children without disabilities is due to the competitive environment of sports. This competitive environment leads to the marginalization of children with disabilities who want to participate in sports, due to individuals with a disability being considered not suitable to participate. However, inclusion is one of the many factors that the profession of occupational therapy strives to implement within their practice. Especially due to the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) vision for 2025 being the commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (AOTA, 2020a). Therefore, developing community sports leagues that are inclusive is one step towards treating all children impartially and creating a diverse community in which all members can flourish and function (AOTA, 2020a).
The purpose of this project was to create an inclusive sports league for all children (5-18 years old) living in Matagorda County, to improve health and wellness, increase leisure participation, experience occupational justice, and enhance quality of life. Creation of this inclusive sports league provided the opportunity to increase inclusion within the community and social interactions by raising awareness of the barriers and benefits of sport participation. Currently, there is only one baseball team available within Matagorda County for individuals with disabilities to participate in, which portrays the lack of opportunities for these children to participate in their leisure occupation of sport participation. This also highlights the significance of this project due to the critical importance of mitigating the occupational injustice adolescents with disabilities experience. With the development of this program the intended objectives of increased participation and quality of life will be achieved, as well as promoting health and wellness and occupational justice.
University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences
Medical Subject Headings
Occupational Therapy, Disabled Children, Leisure Activities, Sports, Baseball, Social Participation, Program Development
Mental and Social Health | Occupational Therapy | Sports Sciences
Filip, D., & Blackwell, A. (2021, August 12). The Development and Implementation of an Inclusive Community Sports League for Children with Disabilities. Poster presented at the Virtual OTD Capstone Symposium, University of St Augustine for Health Sciences. Retrieved from https://soar.usa.edu/otdcapstonessummer2021/27