Accommodating disabled sporting events

The question is: What kinds of accommodations can or should be made?This is a gray area for school districts and state associations. There is only a general guideline from the OCR that school districts make reasonable modifications, “Each state association may, in keeping with applicable laws, authorize exceptions to NFHS playing rules to provide reasonable accommodations to individual participants with disabilities and/or special needs …The RIIL is also considering developing adaptive programs in track and field for student-athletes who are disabled. And our officials have been outstanding in their support of the program.” Massachusetts The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA), Special Olympics and the state’s schools have an informal relationship, which they are in process of formalizing to establish and implement Unified Sports programs.“Both the RIIL and Special Olympics embraced this program wholeheartedly,” said Assistant Executive Director Michael Lunney. There is a Unified Sports Track and Field league which has operated in Massachusetts for the past couple of years, and the MIAA seeks to use that as a model for other programs that could be instituted state-wide.

“Ours is a Unified Sports program but teams will follow interscholastic rules and regulations the same as our regular high school sports.

If and when you officiate a sports contest involving student-athletes with intellectual or physical disabilities, you may wonder: “Do I have to call the game differently from a “regular” high school game and make special accommodations for athletes with disabilities?

Can I do so without compromising the integrity of the contest?

“It also benefits students without disabilities, many of whom serve as partners for the athletes.

Their involvement gives them a greater appreciation of their fellow students who are disabled and creates a more positive school climate.” Rhode Island The Rhode Island Interscholastic League (RIIL) supervises athletic programs for its 54 member schools.

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