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The Importance of Sports & Recreation to Disabled Youth

author image Alexandra Momyer
Alexandra Momyer is a certified personal fitness trainer who began writing professionally in 2010 for various websites. Momyer specializes in youth fitness and is pursuing certification in complete nutrition through International Sports of Sciences Association.
The Importance of Sports & Recreation to Disabled Youth
A girl is sitting next to a disabled boy in a playground. Photo Credit: jarenwicklund/iStock/Getty Images

Low self-esteem and a lack of confidence can plague children with disabilities. Allowing them to have equal access to sports can enhance their gross motor skills, social and communicating abilities, as well as improve their overall health and well-being. Children with special needs will mature physically, socially and emotionally when participating in a recreational activity.

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Gross Motor Skills

The ability to perform controlled movements that require large muscles is known as gross motor skills. Movements that involve using the large muscles include walking, running, crawling or jumping. Often children with special needs lack the ability to perform physical movements properly. When disabled children participate in regular physical activity, it enhances their motor skills by increasing their strength, coordination, flexibility and balance.

Communicating and Socializing

Disabled children frequently miss out on social activities, impeding their ability to better their communication skills. Participation in extracurricular activities can overcome this obstacle, providing them with the ability to engage in social interactions, develop friendships and initiate social skills.

Self-Esteem and Academics

Children who suffer with disabilities often struggle with a lack of self-esteem. They frequently will compare themselves with their able-bodied peers, giving them a decreased sense of self-worth. Recreational participation promotes their self-concept, self-esteem and self-worth, as well as their body awareness. Many children will also show improvements in their academics. The confidence that is gained from the ability to attain success in sports will make them feel like they are capable of achieving almost anything.

Emotional Benefits

There are some major issues that many disabled youth will at some point experience. Having disabled children take part in a recreational activity can aid in preventing different emotional conditions, including acting out behavior, depression, trouble adjusting to certain situations, stress, anxiety and bad behavior. Providing them with a certain amount of activity can assist their bodies and help them to function optimally.

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