School District Overview
Member school districts of the American Association of Adapted Sports Programs, Inc. (AAASP) have access to extracurricular interscholastic sanctioned adapted sports including wheelchair team handball (fall sport), wheelchair basketball (winter sport), and wheelchair football (spring sport). Wheelchair track & field (spring sport) is offered through partnering state high school associations.
Students participating in adapted athletics must have a primary physical disability or qualifying sensory impairment, be enrolled in grades 1-12 and maintain passing grades. All athletes compete in a wheelchair to help level the playing field. As a point of clarification, adapted sports athletes are not eligible for Special Olympics. The two organizations target different populations. AAASP serves students with physical disabilities while Special Olympics serves people with intellectual disabilities.
AAASP provides member school districts with:
- An organizational structure and leadership to enable and facilitate statewide competition in adapted sports.
- Policies, competition rules, guidelines, and governance to enable high quality adapted sports programming.
- Assistance with implementation, plus ongoing support and technical expertise in all program areas.
- Representation at the state and national level with regard to promoting interscholastic adapted sports.
Participating school districts provide:
- An adapted-sports-area coordinator
- Adapted sports coaches
- Accessible gym
Membership or association fees are structured differently for adapted sports vs. traditional sports. As an example, typically each high school pays a membership fee to their state high school association for services while each school system pays a membership fee to AAASP for services that encompass all elementary, middle, and high schools in the district. These fees are bundled and include (but are not limited to) the following services that AAASP provides to its member programs:
- Provides an organizational structure and leadership to enable and facilitate statewide competition in school-based adapted sports
- Serves as the states regulatory agency and governing organization overseeing all aspects associated with interscholastic sanctioned adapted sports for students with physical disabilities including eligibility requirements and safety guidelines
- Ensure programs meet state and federal compliance guidelines and mandates
- Assist members with all phases of program implementation and offers ongoing support and technical assistance in all program areas
- Preside over and rule on appeals by teams of members school systems and investigate and rule on disputes
- Write and provide competition rules for each adapted sport
- Develop, provide, and enforce inclusive procedures and administrative policies
- Conduct educational trainings for coaches, game officials, school coordinators and administrators for each adapted sport
- Conduct mandatory rules clinics for coaches for each sport
- Produce all documentation for schools, including registration packets with appropriate releases
- Provide season dates, competition schedules, state championship dates, data collection forms, referee time sheets, and all necessary forms for schools
- Determine appropriate team placement in either the junior varsity or varsity divisions in cooperation with each local school systems area coordinator, schedule all games, officials, and post schedules, venues, directions, and game results on AAASP web site
- Produce and publish rule books, Parent-athlete handbooks, coaches education program materials, teachers guides and videos in support of the coaching, administrator and officials training and education programs
- Host state championship events for each adapted sport and pay costs associated with game officials, and awards
- Conduct state-wide area coordinator meetings, attended by member school systems for the purpose of reviewing overall program needs, policies and procedures related to adapted sports teams, training needs and competition rules
- Conduct Sports Technical Committee meetings to review input from member programs regarding possible rule changes, oversee recommendations
- Negotiate bulk purchasing with vendors for reduced cost on wheelchairs and other adapted equipment
- Collection of seasonal and annual data for planning, documentation of outcomes and state reporting requirements
- Perform state-wide needs assessments to reduce or increase services and programs where population and attrition dictate
- Develop testing materials (in cooperation with University faculty) for use by members in determining and documenting program benefits
- Provide wheelchair track and field rules and training for coaches who have high school athletes competing on their high school track team competing in the wheelchair division through the partnering state high school association
- Represent members at the state and national level in regard to providing equal opportunity in extracurricular athletic programs for students with physical disabilities