Every child is designed and built differently. Some children like sports, some like music, some like art; each child has their own unique character. Children with special needs are in no way inferior to children without special needs. They, like every other child, have likes and dislikes and they also love to have fun! Yes, it can be quite daunting having to work with children with special needs, because they may require a little more attention, but they deserve the right to participate in sports and require physical activity!


Below you will find information to help you integrate children with special needs into your programs.

Mouse-over each box to learn more. 

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Fragile X

Photo source:

Cerebral Palsy
Down Syndrome
Culture and Religion
Why Sport / Activity is Important?
Sport / Activity Improves:

Cognitive behaviour



Emotional and psychological health

Social skills

Motor skills


Sport / Activity Reduces:

Risk of disease

Risk of (some types of) cancer

Success Stories

Brad Bowden  |

Brad Bowden is a Canadian Ice Sledge Hockey and Wheelchair Basketball Paralympian. Brad has a syndrome called Caudal Regression Syndrome or Sacral Agenesis which means that there was abnormal fetal development of his lower spine. However, this didn't stop him from going to the Paralympics for two different sports! Brad scored the winning goal leading team Canada to a bronze medal at the 2014 paralympic games in Sochi.  

Rick and Dick Hoyt  |

Rick was born in 1962 suffering from oxygen deprivation to his brain at birth resulting in being diagnosed as a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. The doctors told Rick's parents that he was to be institutionalized and would not live, however he has defied these odds!...

Jon Stoklosa  |

One Down's Syndrome man has overcome the odds to become a champion weightlifter. Not just in special Olympics competitions – he regular beats the best of his non-disabled opponents... 


Delivering Physical Activity for Children of All Abilities  |  OPHEA

Steps to Inclusion supports the belief that everyone deserves and benefits from physical activity programs based on the simple principles of inclusivity, respect and participation.

Everyone in the Game!  |  OPHEA

Taking part in daily physical activity is a vital part of any child’s development. It not only helps children to develop physical literacy – the ability to move with competence and confidence in a wide variety of physical activities – but has also... 

Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew  |

One of the autism community’s most beloved books, Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew brims with insight, compassion and spirited humor as it takes a timeless, succinct, and informative look at ten characteristics that help illuminate – not define – children with autism.


Know of a resource that would be a valuable addition to this page? 

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CIRA Ontario

PO Box 99072 RPO Heritage Green, Stoney Creek ON L8J 2P7

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