An Abilities-Based Approach to Service Delivery and Professional Preparation in Adapted Physical Activity

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
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  • 1 The University of Calgary
  • 2 PEL Consulting, Ontario
  • 3 Australian Sports Commission
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Adapted physical activity professionals have embraced for some time the concept of a nonmedical model; however, traditional approaches in service delivery continue to exist. Abilities-based is not a model for service delivery; it is an approach that offers a new perspective that is based on person-centerdness, openness, and compatibility. The focus is on the person in a learning situation, not the disability, not the activity, and not the environment. Although these factors cannot be ignored, emphasis in an ability-based approach shifts to the person. Attitude within and toward service delivery is the critical point of departure in the abilities-based approach. This article discusses demystifying disability and building positive attitudes as features of this approach. It then discusses the influence of this approach on how we prepare future professionals of adapted physical activity, and it concludes with an example of an abilities-based program.

Claudia Emes is with the faculty of Kinesiology at The University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4. E-mail: Patti Longmuir is with PEL Consulting, 159 Don Mills, Ontario, Canada M3A 1K1. Peter Downs is with Sport Development, Australian Sports Commission, PO Box 176, Belconnen ACT 2616.

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