Tips and Resources for Inclusive Physical Activity

posted on Fri, Dec 9 2016 7:00 am by Daniel W. Hatcher, Director, Community Partnerships

For our final National Recreation and Park Association Commit to Health webinar of 2016, my colleagues and I discussed Making Rainy Days Amazing Days.

We were joined by a special guest from the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD) to share tips for helping out-of-school time sites offer adaptable activities inclusive of all youth. You’ll probably recognize this best practice as PA 01 I of the National AfterSchool Association Standards for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity. In August of 2015, we featured NCHPAD in a guest blog article, 3 Steps to Including Kids with a Disability.

Below are three resources from NCHPAD, including tips for supporting students with visual impairment, hearing impairment, intellectual disability and physical disability.

For individualized support, call NCHPAD at 800-900-8086 or e-mail

  1. Resources for Inclusion in Physical Activity & Youth With Disability
  2. Discover Inclusive Physical Education
  3. Pocket Tool for Adapted Physical Education


Tips for Visual Impairment:

A guide-wire system can be set up
Incorporate a balance program to reduce risk of falling
Use light colored or larger equipment, preferably white, yellow or orange
Use balls that are equipped with bells
Use students’ names before giving instructions
Use descriptive verbal instruction
Use different equipment to slow down the action
Use a raised surface or equipment such as a poly-spot to indicate boundaries
When throwing and catching, bounce the ball to give the receiver a sound clue

Tips for Hearing Impairment:

The use of interpreters may be required to aid in facilitating communication
Use illustrative means, such as paper and pencil or white boards
Always face students when talking
Use visual cues and concrete examples
Speak with a normal enunciation and volume
Demonstrate the routine or activity
Avoid loud or constant background noise

Tips for Intellectual Disability:

Be aware that individuals may have poor muscle tone
Provide a highly structured environment
Use a variety of cues including pictures and symbols
Use brightly colored equipment
Keep instructions brief and simple
Offer prompt positive feedback and be consistent with motivators
Be flexible and have patience
Allow the individual to work with a peer
Minimize wait time

Tips for Physical Disability:

Use larger and lighter balls
Use a noodle or other equipment to assist in expanding reach
Attach equipment to a wheelchair or walker
Use large scooter boards for mobility
Use sitting or kneeling in place of standing activities
Ask the individual how he or she might participate in the activity
Focus on reaching, grasping and pushing


Thank you to NCHPAD for sharing their expertise on our Commit to Health webinar. As you plan for 2017, consider reaching out to NCHPAD to identify additional resources and action steps to help all children stay healthy and active.