Providing opportunities for students with disabilities to participate in interscholastic sport is both rewarding and important. Interscholastic sport is proven to increase educational outcomes in student athletes. Ohio’s graduation rate for students with disabilities is 69% compared to 82% overall. Access to interscholastic sport can help students with disabilities socially, physically, emotionally and academically. Additionally, access to athletics is required by law.
US Department of Education: Equal Opportunity for Students with Disabilities in School Athletics
On January 25, 2013, the US Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, issued guidance clarifying school districts existing legal obligations to provide equal access to extracurricular athletic activities to students with disabilities in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said, “Sports can provide invaluable lessons in discipline, selflessness, passion and courage, and this guidance will help schools ensure that students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to benefit from the life lessons they can learn on the playing field or on the court.” Highlights of the guidance include:
- School districts must not act on generalizations and stereotypes
- Ensure equal opportunity for participation
- Offer separate or different athletic opportunities
ASPO as a resource:
ASPO is encouraged that the guidance issued by the Office of Civil Rights will allow for students with disabilities to engage in interscholastic sports. As a leader in adaptive sports in the State of Ohio, ASPO is committed to being a resource to school districts, agencies, and organizations to make these opportunities possible for students with disabilities.
- Implemented the first five Ohio Interscholastic Wheelchair Basketball Teams.
- Provides support to Students who want to join their school track teams.
- Provides regional training for coaches who work with students with disabilities.
- Conducts school presentations to promote awareness of disabilities and adaptive sport opportunities.
Please contact ASPO with any questions or to learn more about how to get involved: Info@AdaptiveSportsOhio.org or 330-985-0085.