Practical Ways to Develop Self-Determination Skills in Recreational Sports for Adolescents with Disabilities


  • Samantha K. Papp
  • Joann P. Judge
  • Audra I. Classen


For students with disabilities, participation in
recreational sports could provide opportunities for them to be physically active while practicing self-determination skills. Although research has linked self-determination to improved quality of life for individuals with disabilities, limited research exists exploring the intersection of recreational sports and self-determination. The purpose of this paper is to provide practical ways to improve self-determination through recreational sports for adolescent students with disabilities. This paper highlights how adults can support adolescents in developing self-determination skills through strategies such as (a) setting goals, (b) helping them develop an action plan, (c) self-monitoring their progress, (d) adjusting their goals, and (e) advocating for themselves. Examples are provided for each of these self-determination strategies, and additional self-determination resources are provided. 

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