Inclusive Sports for Children with Disabilities – Rome, GA
Working with children in the school system, I often get asked if there are any extracurricular activities for children with special needs. Team sports are an amazing way to further increase your child’s development. They help challenge and improve their physical abilities, social skills, and sensory integration while also allowing them to live a more inclusive life and have that sense of independence. As a parent it can be difficult to see your friends taking their children to sports practice and cheering them on at games, you want your child to have that same experience, as a parent you want that experience as well, and you can have it!
LOCAL COMMUNITIES AND INCLUSIVE SPORTS
Communities have become so much more inclusive to our kiddos and typically offer sports teams and activities for children with special needs to be a part of. I personally help out with and know of a few within our local community of Rome, Georgia. For our local parents, this may open some doors for your child and family that you didn’t know was an option. If you are not local to Rome these may lead you to your local community to find out what is available in your area or inspire you to start a similar team.
1. Rome Floyd Parks and Recreation
Rome Floyd Parks and Recreation offers a few options for children with special needs.
Challenger Basketball is offered for children 6 years of age and up with games every Saturday for 6 weeks beginning in February.
Discover Gymnastics is for children 4 years and up with a parent participant. The 45-minute class utilizes organized exercises and circuits on gymnastics equipment and allows time for open exploration and discovery.
2. Rome Civic Ballet
Rome Civic Ballet offers classes for children of all levels! A few of my kiddos performed in the spring recital this year.
3. Shining Stars Cheerleading
Shining Stars cheerleading is done by Hot Shots cheerleading in Rome and the Mission ISpossible foundation. This group is near and dear to my heart as I help out with the team. These kids practice 4 months a year to perform locally as the headliners for Cheerleading Night at the Coosa Valley Fair, regionally at the Rock n Cheer Pep Rally, and as their grand finale, are the official exhibition team to perform at the GHSA State Cheerleading Championship in Columbus, Ga! This team is also offering a week-long day camp in July!
For some children with more mild disabilities, it can be more difficult to choose the best placement for them, whether it be on a team specifically for children with disabilities or on a typical team. Sometimes checking with your local pee wee rec teams and comparing what is expected as well as the level other children on the team will help you be confident in your choice. Some of my younger kids have fit right in socially and performance-wise on a team not specific to special needs.
As a parent, it can be scary to let go but don’t underestimate your baby, they are capable of so much, and watching them light up doing something competitive and learning new skills is the most amazing feeling.
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