We have developed seven “what if” scenarios as a resource for wellness professionals, coaches, parks and recreation staff, and others. These scenarios are meant to apply inclusion concepts learned in our Free Training Modules to real-life situations that may be encountered in various physical activity settings. These scenarios can also serve as prompts for conversations and planning among physical activity staff members. Links to a variety of resources are included throughout the document.
These scenarios are designed to stimulate conversation among wellness professionals. Consider using them as a conversation starter at a staff meeting or during a training session with volunteer coaches. Read the scenario together and discuss your own thoughts before looking at the suggestions listed in the bullet points. The bullet points are only ideas, they aren’t the only ways to handle the scenario. Talk together and decide what is best for your organization, with the guiding principles you learned in our Free Training Modules as a framework.
You are teaching an adult yoga class with 12 participants. Shelly is a regular attender of the class who has Down Syndrome. She works with you to modify activities as necessary but actually requires very little special attention or adaptations. During one of the classes, she experiences incontinence in the middle of class and there is a puddle of urine on the mat. She is flustered and embarrassed and does not want to attract attention but can not continue participating without cleaning up.
Scott is an instructor at the local golf course. On Wednesday evenings, there is a group lesson that includes driving and putting instruction and practice. During the driving portion of the lesson, Sergei, a participant in the lesson, often makes inappropriate noises at inappropriate times. Sergei has no visible disability but Scott is pretty sure that Sergei has special needs. His skill level is very low compared to everyone else in the class and his behaviors are awkward. Scott has tried to be patient but he is concerned that the noises that Sergei makes are disruptive to others in the class and it makes him uncomfortable.
You are coaching a youth football team and you have a participant, Joseph, who is extremely unskilled, uncoordinated, and seems to have trouble connecting with his teammates. He doesn’t seem to pick up on social cues and his communication is awkward. You suspect that Joseph may have a disability and after talking with the parents about how you can better communicate with him, the parents share that their son has high functioning autism. You are eager to make accommodations so that Joseph can be successful and have a positive sport experience. You work with him on improving his skills during practice and make sure that he gets playing time in the games, but other parents/players complain that this athlete is taking away playing time from their child. They claim that having a player on the field with such low skill level puts their kids at risk of injury. They know that it’s rec league so you have to give him playing time but they want you to convince Joseph to quit the team.
You are coaching a Saturday recreational kickball league that is open to anyone in the community ages 6-10. Lottie is an athletically gifted child but has significant communication and behavioral challenges. She does have verbal communication skills but she does not follow instructions well and is unsportsmanlike with her peers, who are growing in their frustration with her. Her behaviors are creating an unsafe environment for her and she is becoming more hostile towards the other kids. You have tried to talk to her parents about creating a behavior modification plan but they are uncooperative and are accusing you of singling her out for being annoying. They have disclosed that she is on the autism spectrum but they want her to be treated “the same as everyone else” and other kids don’t need behavior modification plans.
You are the director of a local softball program and you are organizing adult recreational summer-league teams. Mateo signs up and reports that he has mild cerebral palsy but that he has participated before without any problems. You assign him to a team and assume everything will be fine. After a couple of weeks, you receive a call from one of the players on Mateo’s team who is concerned that Mateo really doesn’t have the skills to play in this league. According to the other player, Mateo has limited mobility. He has been unable to hit the ball in a game (though he has been able to hit some in practice when the ball is lobbed), his base running is slow and he has missed nearly every ball that is hit in his direction in the field. The players on the team have expressed frustration and wonder if there is a different division (perhaps an adapted division) that would be a better fit for Mateo.
You are coaching a competitive teen basketball league. Dante is a highly skilled player who has Tourette syndrome. The other boys know that they can’t tease Dante when he has ticks or involuntary vocalizations, and they appreciate the athleticism that he brings to the team, he is one of their leading scorers. Although the boys are kind, they do not connect well with Dante and when it is time to do partner drills they actively avoid partnering with him. They don’t know how to handle the unwanted sounds and they are embarrassed by the way he draws attention to them. You try to assign him to a partner who will be able to handle it but realize that you’re always giving him the same one or two partners which isn’t fair to them or helpful to the team.
You are teaching a beginners youth swimming lesson. Katya is a 10-year-old girl in the class who loves the water but she has the lowest swimming ability of all the kids in the class. She has significant hearing loss in both ears and wears bi-lateral hearing aids when she is out of the water. The splashing and echoing in the pool make it virtually impossible for her to hear or focus on anything you are saying. She can read lips to some degree but mostly relies on watching the other kids in the class for cues about what to do. She prefers to have her head under the water all the time, where the noise stimulation is minimized. It is difficult for you to get her to keep her head out of the water to watch your mouth when you are giving instructions. Each week she falls further behind the other kids in skill level and it is becoming unsafe for her to try to copy the other kids.