TOP Sports Activities
|Name:||Sue Thain Olsen|
|Address:||Center for Persons with Disabilities 6810 Old Main Hill Logan, UT 84322-6810|
Most children and adolescents have the option to participate in recreation, after-school activities, weekend team sports, and summer camps. At school, they have a chance to exercise in physical education classes and on the playground at recess.
These opportunities for fitness and leisure are limited for children and adolescents with disabilities. Children with disabilities want to have friends, enjoy activities, have a break from parents, and be included like everyone else. Like other children, their interests range from swimming and sports, to visiting parks and playgrounds, attending summer camps, and just hanging out with friends.
Multiple barriers can stand in the way of fitness and leisure for children with disabilities. Many parents are apprehensive to encourage their children to become involved, because of the range of obstacles they were likely to encounter. Yet, many resources are making it possible for children with disabilities to participate in leisure options, and as this demand increases, more programs are likely to develop and grow.
Top Sports activities address the recreational and leisure activity needs of children and youth with disabilities living in the Cache Valley area (Logan and surrounding communities). The initial project titled 'Leisure and recreational activities for differently-abled children,' increased the awareness of the need for offering modified recreational opportunities in the community. The recreational organizations in the community responded with a commitment to expand and modify recreation/leisure activities and programs to meet the needs and expectations of children and youth with disabilities.
Now called TOP Sports, the project is being sustained through the Logan City Parks and Recreation, Smithfield City Parks and Recreations, and parents of children and youth with disabilities.
Activities include baseball/T-ball, basketball, soccer, bowling and swimming, and art classes. City and county administrators have shown their continued commitment by extending the use of the city's facilities at no cost to the TOP Sports Activities. Additionally, parents of children and youth with disabilities have participated in the continuation of these leisure and recreation activities by co-directing the activities with personnel from the CPD.
This project has provided activities during the last year to more than 150 children and youth with disabilities and their families.
CPD personnel continue to provide training to program directors, activity instructors, parents, and other appropriate individuals/groups in skills and methodologies to ensure fully inclusive experiences and accessible activities for children and youth with disabilities. Additionally, CPD staff assist with the identification of volunteers from USU and the community to assist the athletes with skill development and active participation.