The importance of inclusive extracurricular activities is highlighted in an article published by Amariah Hash and Stephen Menendian, writing for the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society. While schools may require that students participating in a competitive extracurricular program have a given level of skill, all students need to have access to opportunities to engage in athletics. Student athletes with competitive skills may require simple adaptations in order to participate fully. Examples of strategies to enable students to participate in competitive athletic events include providing visual cues, such as for when to begin a race, and rethinking certain rules, such as needing to touch the pool wall with two hands to finish a race. These adaptations do not substantially affect the activity.
Inclusive extracurriculars can be part of a school culture that discourages stereotypes and aims to reduce prejudice. Participation in sports can improve children’s confidence in other areas of their lives, and being included and treated with respect on the playing field teaches athletes to expect respect and dignity elsewhere. Being part of a team involves using your own skills to help others improve, and inclusive teams help all their members to develop into lifelong team players.