Episode 52:

Adapt it Sport—Equipment Storeroom

Date released: March 2014


Partners: Sean Healy, Jennifer Wong and the team at Adapt it Sport

This is the episode where we launch our collaboration with Adapt it Sport – bringing a new section that looks at adapting equipment to suit the needs of people with disability. In this episode we interview Sean Healy and Jennifer Wong from Adapt it Sport and look at their approach to equipment modification using the Six S’s!

Adapt It Sport

We are very excited today to bring you a special episode and the start of a new era of cooperation for The Inclusion Club. As you know, we are all about helping you provide the best possible opportunities for people with disability to participate in sport and active recreation. So we were delighted in 2013 to come across a new not-for-profit organisation dedicated to pretty much the same thing but with a focus on enabling practitioners to acquire, make and adapt equipment to increase physical activity opportunities for people with disability – Adapt it Sport.

stacks_image_314 We know the importance of equipment in creating inclusive sport and active recreation. Designing, adapting and modifying equipment is a key pillar of inclusion and you will find many creative examples of this throughout The Inclusion Club. So when we starting talking to the creative folk at Adapt it Sport we immediately saw the tremendous potential to join forces and bring you their expertise and ideas directly through The Inclusion Club – not just through episodes but through a dedicated section of the site. So that’s what we are starting today!

So who are Adapt it Sport? Well, one of the reasons we are so excited about joining forces with Adapt it Sport is because they are an international team of young and talented specialists in adapted physical activity. You have Sean Healy (Ireland), Joanna Verweel (Canada), Jennifer Wong (Canada), Aurelie Pankowiak (France), Amy Collins (Ireland) and Alba Roldan (Spain). They are all highly qualified in their respective fields and bring a collective passion for the area that is quite unique.

And what do they do exactly? They spread equipment adaptation ideas through a variety of sources —practical workshops, articles and through an online sharing platform—The Inclusion Club! Their message is that all equipment can be adapted to allow successful participation of all individuals. Adapt it Sport suggests six basic principles to guide the adaptation of equipment. We’ll come to that in a moment but for now let’s hear from Jennifer Wong and Sean Healy, two of the founders of Adapt It Sport. Just click on each image to view the video.

As mentioned above and in the videos, Adapt It Sport use a framework called the Six S’s—here’s more of an explanation below:

Episode52—Adapt It Sport, Equipment Storeroom

Here’s a quick run through of how the Six ‘S’s of equipment adaptation can be used:


All equipment can be adapted in size to allow the user to be more successful. For example, balls can be adapted so as the child can throw, kick or strike more efficiently. The size of nets, basketball rings, bowling pins, goals, hula hoops, poly spots, skipping ropes and a range of other equipment should also be adapted to suit the child.

Episode52—Adapt It Sport, Equipment Storeroom

Adapting the size of the ball and net in volleyball


Particularly for children with vision impairments, the addition of sound to sports equipment can make a previously inaccessible activity accessible; sound can be added to balls, targets, cones and other equipment pieces. This can be achieved through the use of security beepers or bells which can be fastened to equipment using velcro or tape.

Episode52—Adapt It Sport, Equipment Storeroom

Adding sound to a ball using bells


This method of adaptation is particularly useful for teaching ball activities; it makes activities less dynamic so as to increase the chance of success. For example, to aid a child to practice striking with a bat, you may place the ball on a tee or suspend it with a string.

Episode52—Adapt It Sport, Equipment Storeroom

Striking and kicking a supported ball


Adapting the surface of equipment can greatly improve its use for many children, especially those with visual impairments; for example, adding texture to a ball or the handle of a bat can allow it to be gripped more efficiently. The addition of lights on a target, field marker or goal can aid people with low vision to orient themselves in a physical activity setting.

Episode52—Adapt It Sport, Equipment Storeroom

Adding a light to a target for a participant with a vision impairment


Slowing down the speed of some equipment can make many activities more accessible, especially for those with low coordination and visual impairments. Balls are easy to adapt and by slowing them down, activities such as catching, kicking, or striking are made easier.

Episode52—Adapt It Sport, Equipment Storeroom

Adding sand to a ball to reduce its speed


Switches allow the user to operate equipment by clicking a switch or pulling a lever, thus providing access for the user to previously inaccessible equipment. They can be purchased or created, to allow individuals with high support needs to participate in all activities. For example, a switch can be added to a bowling ramp to allow individuals who are unable to physically roll a ball to now participate in bowling or a switch can be created to allow balls to be ‘thrown’ and bats swung.

Episode52—Adapt It Sport, Equipment Storeroom

A homemade switch to throw a tennis ball

The Six S’s are the foundation from which all adaptations can be made. To give an example of this have a look at the example below. Of course, adaptations such as these can be applied individually or collectively, depending on your circumstances. This example uses the lot!

The example uses all the S’s applied to a game of bowling for a child who is hard of hearing and vision impaired. In this activity a set of bowling pins have been constructed out of plastic bottles, each have been filled half way with cement. The tops of the bottles are tied together and with a longer rope attached to horizontal line (this should be a rope between two trees). The participant rolls a ball at the pins, if he/she is successful and knocks over the pins they can easily be set up again by pulling upwards on the rope.

Episode52—Adapt It Sport, Equipment Storeroom

That’s given you a taste of what Adapt it Sport will be bringing you in the future via The Inclusion Club. To kick-start the collaboration head over to our Resources section and go to ‘Adapted Equipment’—you will be able to download some Adapt it Sport cards explaining how to adapt equipment. In each card, they suggest the population that can benefit most from these adaptations and what kind of activities/exercises you can do with this equipment. It is also provides a small guide with the steps you should follow in order to build the equipment piece.

Another way you can support Adapt It Sport is to go over to their Facebook page and ‘Like’ them to get the latest updates:

Episode52—Adapt It Sport, Equipment Storeroom

That’s it from The Inclusion Club team for this episode. We saw the other day that others were calling ‘episodes’—‘webisodes’!! Quite like it—see if it catches on? Do you have any equipment ideas? If so, please leave them in the comments section below or on the resources page so we can share them around.