Children with developmental disabilities have so much to overcome that it can actually be difficult to fathom. Aside from the obvious issues that will arise with school, homework, and education, children with developmental disabilities also have to deal with bullying and ostracization from their classmates and peers; the people who they want to be friends with. However just because some children might have developmental disabilities doesn’t mean that they’re still not children with the desire to run around and be active with their friends. Many children with these developmental disabilities are still physically capable and able to run around and the fact that no one wants to join them can be the most harmful thing of all.
Enter Sports Plus, a Montgomery County, Maryland-based organization that recognizes the importance of exercise and friendship to all children, regardless of how developed they are. Sports Plus is one of a few programs around the country that works to give children with developmental disabilities access to team sports where they can make friends and run around like the children that they are. Sports allows children to shine and reach their personal bests. For those who are uncomfortable making friends in social situations (maybe due to something like autism), sports allows them to bond with classmates and show their worth to their peers. A child who is takes part in sports has a much larger chance of being popular and accepted by their classmates than one who doesn’t, even if they’re not all that good.
Programs like Sports Plus work to introduce children to teams where they don’t stand out due to their disabilities. Sports increases social skills and allows children to have fun without the pressure of looking different. More and more doctors are realizing that sports and exercise can take the place of drugs when it comes to treating things like ADD and ADHD and groups like Sports Plus are the perfect place for kids to run around and burn off all that energy. While kids should be included in mainstream activities whenever possible, the fact is that many children won’t do well because of their disabilities. Special organized sports leagues are a great way to not only make them feel included, but to also allow them to be unfettered children without worrying what other people think.
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