Mary Davis,Managing Director of Special Olympics Europe/Euraisa. People with disabilities want to participate in PE, physical activity and Sport for all the same reasons as those who do not have a disability. Special Olympics has proven that when given the opportunity adults and children with intellectual disability can excel, train, win, lose, work as a team, enjoy themselves and achieve much more through the medium of sport. However getting an opportunity and having an interest in participating are often dependent on getting a positive early experience of sport and physical activity in Physical Education. It is at this critical juncture in PE, that we will say to children with disabilities that they are both welcome to and capable of full participation in all aspects of physical activity. Indeed our message should be that it is their right as a person to be facilitated.International research has told us that PE teachers though interested and capable, in general, do not feel very confident in including children with disabilities in their mainstream PE classes. The main reason for this, they identify as not having studied or having practical experience or training in how to facilitate inclusive PE classes, namely not having a module in Adapted Physical Education. European Inclusive Physical Education Training, EIPET solves the problem. EIPET is based on the very successful Adapted Physical Education Modules which have been developed at the Institute of Technology, Tralee over the past twelve years. Their emphasis on high quality APE practicum experiences and a guided tutorial process model has seen IT Tralee lead the way in relation to inclusion training of undergraduate PE teachers and leisure professionals in Ireland.
In conjunction with their European partners and the support of Leargas they now offer a complete APE module that can be used by any third level institution who prepares PE teachers. The pack which includes lectures, tutorials, practical activities, case studies and assessment formats will provide an excellent resource for lecturers in the area of APE and encourage far more institutions to include APE as a compulsory part of pre-service and in-service PE teacher training. The overall aim of the module is to give the PE teacher the knowledge, skills and competence to include all children in PE class. If it is adopted and utilised it will ensure that the initial PE experience for children with disabilities is a positive one that empowers rather than marginalises, that celebrates difference rather than uses it as an excuse to exclude.
We know that PE teachers have indicated that facilitating inclusion does require more work, but they are prepared to do that work.
EIPET makes inclusive PE that little bit easier.