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The Importance of Sports Camps for Youth who are Blind or Visually Impaired

When someone first told Marla Runyan about the lack of sports opportunities for children with visual impairments, she didn’t believe it.

“Being visually impaired myself, I have been an athlete my entire life—I could not imagine a life without sports,” explains Marla, a TVI and U.S. Olympian.

She soon discovered her friend was right. “When I attended Camp Abilities in 2012, I met an 8-year-old boy who had never run. I met a high school girl who had no idea what the “ready” position looked like (or felt like) as runners approach a starting line.”

How could this be? Marla now explains that the knowledge of how to move—run, kick, throw, jump—is learned primarily through vision. We watch others move and then try it ourselves. But for individuals who are blind or visually impaired, the knowledge of movement skills is not learned incidentally—it must be taught.

This is why the techniques used to teach movement skills must be accessible and meaningful to youth who cannot see. People who are blind or visually impaired are not exempt from the need to move.

Whether you are a parent, a teacher for the visually impaired, or a physical education teacher, the APH website is as an invaluable resource and motivator to keep our kids moving! Be sure to browse our articles on physical education (the articles button can always be found in the footer of the website).

Want to see students with visual impairments thriving, and getting active? Watch a video with photos from sports camps.

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