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An Institutional and Social Transformation Story: From Active Life Center to Inclusive Physical Activity Center

Sibel Nalbant, Dilara Özer, Gizem Duyan

Abstract


Inclusive Physical Activity Center (IPAC) is a community-based program that aims to include children with special needs together with their peers within sport activities. This project was developed on the basis of Bronfenbrenner’s socioecological theory (1976) and covers actors who play an important role in the lives of children with special needs such as parents, peers, teachers and volunteers. The Center includes children with and without disabilities, support services, community based programs and school awareness programs. All participants with special needs are included with their peers without disabilities with the exception the infant group (aged 0-2) and two groups of children with severe disabilities. In IPAC, physical activity training is conducted in 90-minute sessions with some groups attending twice a week and others attending three times a week. School awareness programs including in  “Paralympic School Days,” and “Get into it!  Special Olympics” helps to create an accepting and supportive school environment. Community-based activities are out-of-school activities focusing on social inclusion by bringing students from all levels of the school system together with children with special needs via special days on disability awareness such activities. In-service PE teachers and APA graduate students from a local take an active role to implement all IPAC programs to promote awareness and understanding of disability. IPAC plays an important role in creating an acceptable and supportive atmosphere for people with disabilities in the community. 

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Keywords


Special education; physical activity; inclusion; Turkey

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