Differently-abled people are not short of abilities. One who is differently-abled has some or other sort of mental or physical disabilities. Use of the prefix ‘dis’ before abled has been replaced with the word ‘differently’ to focus on these people’s abilities.
Disability can be defined as any emotional, psychological, cognitive, developmental, or physical impairment which restricts the normal functioning of an individual. A person with some form of impairment faces significant difficulties to accomplish day-to-day activities. The quality of life of these people is greatly dependent on another person who assists them to perform daily activities like self-care, feeding, communicating, etc.
Differently-abled people, especially children, are at higher risk of experiencing mood disorders, loneliness, and personality disorders as they often have difficulties making meaningful connections with others through social interactions.
Sports involve both the mind and the body which often provide these people the chance to freely express themselves even with compromised communication skills. Sports enable these people to develop social adaptive skills, problem-solving skills, motor skills, a sense of competence, and a positive self-image.
Physical education should be the first step while introducing sports to the differently-abled. This enables them to acquire an educational understanding of sports. Not only physical sports but also mental exercises should be programmed for differently-abled people.
Can the differently-abled benefit from sports?
Sports and games have innumerable benefits for the differently-abled. Involving oneself in sports helps broaden one’s mental horizon and coerce social connections. No doubt, it helps escape from the mundane of one’s life. Social interaction is a crucial part of everyone’s lives and lack of socialization often pushes people to loneliness and depression, more so in the case of differently-abled people.
Differently-abled people often feel pushed to the community’s periphery. Sports, specially designed for them, make them feel included in social groups. It also helps create new bonds, feel loved, and understood. Taking part in these sports and winning them brings in a sense of self-competence and mastery, which enhances their self confidence. Sports also help develop self-sufficiency among these individuals.
2. Healthy Mind
Physical and emotional interactions that accompany sports help the differently-abled to reduce the perceived sense of loneliness. Games refresh their mind and help them soothe anxiety and relieve stress and frustrations.
3. Healthy Body
Physical inactivity in differently-abled people causes them to develop hazardous health issues like obesity, cardiac disorders, and other functional disorders like ADHD, coordination disorders, and weakness. Sports will keep the body active and ward off the possibilities of these problems.
4. Physical and motor competence
Involving the differently-abled into sports will require special educators to train them closely and help them attain the motor and physical competence within their potential. Games and sports help develop flexibility, speed, coordination, better motor coordination, endurance, and teach turn-taking to the differently-abled.
Sports give differently-abled people a chance to explore their capacities. Being able to achieve even small steps makes them feel self-confident. The repetitive performance of the same steps with reinforcement can help them learn new skills as well. It helps lift their self-esteem and find new meaning to their existence. Visual and tactile stimulations in sports will help them learn sensations that aid overall development.
With consistent encouragement, support, and positive feedback from parents, special educators and close ones, differently-abled people can ace at sports to their best which helps them to enhance their self esteem and self worth.