Wheelchair Sport Physical Literacy

A core objective of Let’s Play is to develop physical literacy in kids at an early stage. We introduce KSAs (Knowledge, Skills and Abilities) as a way to make this more concrete and useful for teachers, facilitators and parents. As a child improves their knowledge, skills and abilities they have more fun, gain confidence, and will be motivated to be more physically active. The KSAs in this guide are not exhaustive but are key for teachers, facilitators or parents working with children with mobility related physical disabilities.

KSAs are broken down into three major categories:

  • Knowledge - awareness and understanding of what needs to be done personally and as part of a game involving other people
  • Skills - the movement skills to use a manual wheelchair, catch, throw, and strike the ball and the sports skills to put the movement skills together to play with others
  • Abilities - the underlying physical competencies to perform skills
An overview of each of the Knowledge and Abilities promoted within Let's Play is presented in this section. As well each of the skills related to the use of a manual wheelchair for participation in physical activity and sport are highlighted with the use of video, teaching tips and a description of each skill.  Each of these movement and sport skills are also linked to activities that focus on that skill.

Progressive Skill Development

KSAs are developed within the context of what is appropriate for a child at each stage of their own personal development. While all children are unique in their physical, social and cognitive development, the range for kids with disabilities may be even more pronounced. It is essential to promote dialogue between teacher/facilitator and child/family to gage what will work best for each individual.  KSAs are used during the planning process to set goals, design activities, measure progress and make changes as required.  A recommended progression of skill introduction and development as well as an overview of timing for potential skill introduction are listed below. 

Skills will develop over time and can be identified by certain milestones. The stage any skill is at can be identified by which milestones have been met. Not all skills will end in mastery so short and long term goals should take this into consideration. The speed of this progression can vary from one individual to the next and one skill to the next.

Skill Development Milestones

Introduction Assisted Independent Advanced Mastery
The individual is not aware of the skill when asked (make sure it is not simply a question of language). The individual can perform basic elements of the skill with cues and assistance from a facilitator. The individual can perform the skill without assistance but may have trouble with certain aspects of the skill or when asked to perform the skill within the context of an activity. The individual performs the skill automatically and proficiently as part of activities in moderately fast and dynamic situations. The individual is able to perform the skill at high speeds, proficiently, in complex situations and is able to adapt to novel challenges.

Below is a suggested timeline for introducing the KSAs described in the KSA section. Depending on disability or goals, the order of these skills may vary.

Timing of Skill Introduction

  phase 1 phase 2 phase 3 phase 4
Knowledge  personal awareness
game concepts game concepts technical skills
Movement Skill  wheeling forward
wheeling backward
changing direction
Sports Skill  catching