Making Athletics Accessible



I have competed for Canada all over the world; in Europe, Asia and South America but the other night I got a glimpse into a world I had never experienced – the high school Athletic Banquet.

It was an energetic evening to say the least – coaches who went up to the podium to present awards were cheered loudly. There were lots of laughs and inside jokes, hugs and even some tears. When students were called up for awards you couldn’t hear anything from the din of applause, whistles and screaming. I – Was actually concerned for myre poor guide dog, Alan, because the noise was that extreme. It was a great night filled with fond memories, and a definite sense of belonging to one large team.

High school athletics could best be described as a nightmare for me. Bumping into other students, having no clue where the ball was — until I got hit with it, wanting to disappear from the embarrassment when other students got mad and frustrated with my performance. They thought I was clumsy, and they thought that sport was not my thing.

Parasport: A Sport for Everyone

Fortunately for me, I found people who told me it WAS my thing, even though I was going blind and it changed my life. Now I want to make sure other people living with disabilities understand the incredible value physical activity brings to a person’s life.

As an educator I have had the privilege to work with Physical Health and Education Canada to write accessible physical education curriculum documents, most notably Paralympic FUNdamentals which was written in collaboration with the Canadian Paralympic Committee.

Inclusion Helps Us All

The goal of this curriculum is to make phys ed classes inherently inclusive for all abilities. Students are encouraged to find a way of moving that works best for them. It challenges the notion that there is one “right” way to be active.

The amazing thing I realized when implementing these accessible phys. ed plans is how much they benefitted all students. Suddenly the students who did not participate in gym class were on an equal playing field with the star athletes, and that gave them a little more confidence to join in. Not to mention that al the lesson plans rely on collaboration and team work to make sure everyone is able to participate to their full potential.Phys. Ed class was inclusive and teaching important lives skills as well as physical activity
Attention Teachers!

The lesson plans introduce students to four paralympic sports; sittingvolleyball, goal ball , bocci and athletics events. For more information, you can find the free resource – complete with curriculum expectations for all our provinces – at

Obviously not everyone will want to compete in the Paralympic Games, but the health benefits, both physical and mental, are too important for educators to exclude anyone.