Examining Physical Activity for Individuals With Disabilities Through a Social Justice Lens

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  • 1 Department of Kinesiology, School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA
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Many individuals with disabilities are not physically active. Part of inactivity can be explained by the person’s disability. However, inactivity also may be the result of inequities, attitudes, and misconceptions by physical activity (PA) providers that makes it difficult for those with disabilities to successfully participate in sport, recreation, and fitness pursuits. The purpose of this paper is to examine disability through a social justice lens with specific reference to PA. Concepts of ableism, social justice, and how disability is defined will be explored with specific examples from PA. We conclude with suggestions on how to make PA providers aware of ableism, their biases, and how they define and view disability. This awareness will hopefully lead to changes in the willingness of PA providers to welcome those with disabilities into their programs and provide accommodations so that people with disabilities will be able to access PA.

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