Tell Us Your Story
Are you a student with a disability who has struggled to receive equitable treatment in your school? The Women's Sports Foundation wants to hear your story.
Email the Women's Sports Foundation for more information about the Alliance in Support of Athletic Equity for Students with Disabilities.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
AAPAR Joins New National Coalition to Support Athletic Equity for Students with Disabilities
AAPAR has joined the Women's Sports Foundation (WSF) and nearly 100 other organizations to affect change in one of the last frontiers of opportunity for persons with disabilities: school and collegiate athletics. The Alliance in Support of Athletic Equity for Students with Disabilities (ASAESD) is working to advance sports opportunities for this demographic, using a multi-prong policy agenda that will ensure they have opportunities to participate in and receive benefits from school-based athletic programs.
Although people with disabilities have made significant gains since the passage of the Rehabilitation Act, students still face pervasive inequities in school-based athletics. Currently, their opportunities are virtually non-existent.
"We are all too aware that change is needed to address the systemic exclusion and discrimination that students with disabilities face regarding athletic opportunities and resources for sports participation," Rebecca Lytle said. Lytle is a professor of adapted physical education at California State University – Chico and chairs AAPAR's Adapted Physical Activity Council.
Sports are an effective intervention for addressing the obesity epidemic that is especially problematic for those with disabilities. All people who participate in sports have higher self-esteem, better body images, and higher rates of academic success. People with disabilities in particular are more confident and more likely to graduate from high school, matriculate in college, and experience greater career success and more options.
Yet despite these benefits, they are not getting the same amount of physical activity and athletic opportunities as their able-bodied peers. Studies indicate that 56% of people with disabilities do not engage in any physical activity, compared to 36% of people without disabilities. Only 23% of people with disabilities are active for 30 minutes three or more times per week. There are 1.5 million 1st through 12th graders with physical impairments that are not included in athletic competitions.
"Joining the ASAESD is a natural fit for AAPAR, given that our mission is to promote physical activity for people of all abilities," said AAPAR Executive Director Mariah Burton Nelson. "We must educate our government leaders and the public about the needs of people with disabilities so that all students can develop leadership, teamwork, self-confidence, and fitness through sports."
In support of their advocacy efforts, ASAESD is calling on people with disabilities to share their stories. Terri Lakowski, public policy director for the Women's Sports Foundation says, "We are encouraging those who have had good experiences working with their schools to access athletic programs and those who have struggled to receive equitable treatment at school due to a disability to share their experiences with us. The alliance is committed to compiling and sharing the stories with leaders who can and want to make a difference."
Stories can be submitted by mail, fax, or online at www.WomensSportsFoundation.org/DisabilityStory. Those who want to join ASAESD can contact the Women's Sports Foundation. at email@example.com.