When people hear sports for special needs kids, many think of kids with cognitive or developmental disabilities, such as autism, Down syndrome or cerebral palsy. The notion of sports for a blind or visually impaired child seldom comes to mind. In fact, according to the American Foundation for the Blind, nearly 70 percent of visually impaired children do not participate in even a limited physical education curriculum. This statistic can be attributed in large part to the transition that many students with visual impairments must make from residential schools, where physical educators with specialized knowledge in vision impairment deliver customized services in relatively small classes, to public schools where educators often do not have the knowledge, time, and resources to adequately serve this student population.
Backyard Sports Plus Program for Special Needs Athletes works with kids and teens spanning a wide range of disabilities, including visual impairment. We talked to Stefan Mohan, father of Jake Mohan, a visually impaired athlete in our Sunday Plus program at Purchase College. Stefan shared Jake’s experience with the program and how it’s been an important element in his physical activity and socialization.