Disability Sports and Health Game and Activity Modifications program was organized by the faculty of sport science at Gedik University on June 23, 2014. The aims of this program were to (1) provide year-round adaptive sport instruction to adults and children with physical and cognitive disabilities and (2) examine the health and performance benefits derived from regular physical activity and motives for and barriers to physical activity among this population. It was hoped that the findings would translate into real-world applications and promote physical health and well-being of persons with disabilities at all levels.
There were five partners from Turkey, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Italy, and Finland. Target groups of the program were students studying coaching, physical education, recreation, and physical therapy in schools of physical education and sports. A total of 24 students from the European universities and 9 from Gedik University attended this program. This program consisted of four modules over 20 days in 140 hours (of which 76 are about theory). The project was sponsored by Lifelong Learning Programme, Istanbul Electricity, Tramway and Tunnel General Management (İETT), Pendik Municipality, and Tuzla Municipality with a sum up to €40,000.
This program enabled persons with disabilities to enjoy outdoor recreation with friends and family in a boundary-free environment and to provide access to equipment and instruction that might otherwise be unavailable in a full-day event. “Our project seeks to encourage persons with disabilities to view sport participation as a viable lifestyle choice. Sport can help reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with disability because it can change community attitudes toward persons with disabilities by focusing on their skills, not their own disability. Through sport participation, persons without disabilities are able to interact with persons with disabilities in a positive context, thereby allowing them to understand more about the strengths and limitations of persons with disabilities,” said Dilara Özer, coordinator of this project.