Participation in an activity is the first step towards creating change through sport. What it takes to participate is a desire and a opportunity. A desire for a "want and effort to be involved", along with the actual opportunity to be able to engage in an activity, all form overall participation.
Desire + Opportunity = Participation
In the case of individuals with physical disabilities, the desire is present, but the opportunity is limited due to physical challenges. Thus, participation in activity does not occur.
However, in reality, with skateboarding, among a handful of other action sports, the incredible capability to adapt to meet the physical needs of *ALL* individuals exists.
Adaptive Action Sports (ADACS) (http://adacs.org/) is a non-profit organization based out of Summit County Colorado that creates opportunities for individuals with physical disabilities to become involved with action sports, such as skateboarding. ADACS Founder, Daniel Gale and Amy Purdy, have created opportunities for individuals with physical disabilities to compete in a number of events such as the X-Games.
What makes ADACS more impressive is that ADACS also impacts veterans living with permanent physical disabilities. If it was not for organizations like ADACS, many individuals with physical disabilities would not be given the opportunity to participate in action sports and obtain the associated health benefits of action sports.
Another adaptive action sports non-profit organization, more specifically related to skateboarding, is The Adaptive Skate Kollective (ASK) (http://adaptiveskate.org/). ASK, started by Mathew Hawkins and Andrea Haring, sells merchandise online as a fundraising initiative for adaptive skateboarder programs.
By creating skateboard programs for individuals with physical disabilities to practice skateboarding, the individuals are happily exposed to the benefit of role-models to learn from. A sense of belonging to a community of fellow skateboarders is also felt when an
individual with physical disabilities participates alongside others in skateboarding.
In action sports someone with and someone without physical disabilities are able to ride together and thus practice and compete with each other. There is less of a physical ability segregation line in skateboarding compared to other traditional sports.
It is important for individuals with physical disabilities to learn about organizations like ASACS and ASK because without support and realization that anyone can participate and belong in action sports, individuals with physical disabilities lose hope as assumptions that they cannot participate in action sports may run through their mind.
Bringing action sports opportunities to individuals with physical disabilities helps them in a massive way by providing a form of exercise as well as a physiological (mental) aspect of being provided something to create meaningful goals for.
With the rise of technology and 3D printing, organizations like e-NABLE (http://enablingthefuture.org/) make a difference and help to "Give The World A Helping Hard". e-NABLE uses 3D printing to make custom design devices that individuals with physical disabilities can wear for specific activities. E-NABLE finds solutions for all individuals to participate in any activity that they desire.
A story from e-NABLE reads,
"Jimmy 'Shredder' Wilson is 8 years old, and like many children his age, he loves to ride his bicycle and has dreams of performing tricks, jumps and spins on his trusty BMX. This is something that takes a lot of hard work, grit and determination to accomplish when you have two functional hands to maneuver the handlebars, but can be extra tricky when you are born missing your left hand."
e-NABLE continues to give hope and open windows of opportunity for individuals with physical disabilities. No matter what someone's religious, political, cultural and personal beliefs, e-NABLE has the professionalism to help achieve participation for everyone.