Adaptations and Modifications

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AdaptationChanging the Skill or the Nature of the Activity ModificationMaking the Task or Skill Easier or Harder (not changing skill itself)
adaptation modification

What exactly are adaptations and modifications?

An adaptation involves changing the way a task or skill is performed. Adaptations are used to promote success and allow a participant to perform a task or skill in a way that aligns with each his or her abilities. Adaptation can also be used to increase a participant’s interaction and interplay and allow everyone while allowing the individual to participate at their specified level. Finally, adaptations should be used to improve or maintain the participant’s self-esteem by allowing the person to perform skills or activities which are challenging, yet will promote success and self-esteem.

{put in colored example box} Power soccer is not only an example of an adaptation, but also an adapted sport. Power soccer gives participants who use power-chairs a chance to play soccer, either competitively or recreationally. It also allows participants to play soccer in a way that will help them be successful despite their inability to “kick” the ball. Power soccer uses bumpers attached to a power-chair allowing mentees to control, dribble, and kick the ball with the help of their power-chair. The use of bumpers allow athletes with a significant physical disability to play alongside others. It also allows two participants who use power-chairs to have a sport or activity that they can play together. If you’d like to learn more about power soccer, check out this short video:

A modification is making a task easier or harder by changing the environment or the equipment, but keeping the skill or performance the same. Modifications should be individualized to meet the needs of the participant. Modifications should promote success, yet challenge the individual as appropriate.

{put in colored example box} As the instructor, you can modify the skill of striking by using a larger ball or object, such as a beach ball instead of a baseball, as well as a wider implement, such as a bat or paddle, for striking practice. By increasing the surface area of the striking implement as well as the size of the object that the participant is trying to strike, the person’s chance of success will greatly increase. The skill of striking and the activity of hitting a ball towards a target has not changed. The modifications chosen, using different equipment, allows the participant to maximize his or her abilities while still achieving success.

How can we decide what adaptation or modification might be most appropriate for a given individual or situation?