Playworks strives to embody our core values—Healthy Play, Healthy Community, Respect, and Inclusion—in every game we play. This year, the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation connected us with Laureus Ambassador Bob Lujano, a US Paralympic athlete, a rugby national champion, and an expert in the field of inclusion. Playworks is proud to present the first in a four-part guest blog series sharing Bob Lujano's tips for adapting games to make play as inclusive as possible for students with special needs.
Adapting Games for Students in Wheelchairs
- Allow additional bounces/kicks as needed.
- Allow students to hold a ball while pushing their wheelchair to get movement going.
- For tagging, be clear that tags must occur on the body and not on the chair. Same goes for dodgeball games—The ball cannot hit only wheelchair, and must hit a student’s body. Additionally, students in wheelchairs are likely to move slower than other students. Consider requiring two tags, giving them extra time to move, or slowing down the movement style of other students.
- Consider alternative activities in place of jumping jacks, star jumps, etc. For example, some students may do wheelchair push-ups by using their hands to push their bodies a bit off the chair.
- Be open to different ways of moving. For example, it may work better for students in wheelchairs to move backwards for some activities.
- For games that require hopping one foot, allow students in wheelchairs to push with one hand instead (or they can pop a wheelie if you feel it’s safe).
- For games that have students kicking the ball, allow students to hit the ball with a bat/racket or throw the ball.
- For games where students race to grab the ball, consider allowing students in wheelchairs call out for the ball when they are close (eg, within 3 feet) to it, since they won’t be able to reach down for it as fast some of their peers.
Blogs in this series:
- Tips for Making Games Inclusive
- Adapting Games for Students with ADHD
- Adapting Games for Students with Autism
- Adapting Games for Students in Wheelchairs
Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA Ambassador Bob Lujano meeting with Playworks Junior Coaches in Minneapolis.