Improving one’s athletic abilities usually involves fine-tuning eye-hand coordination. But, what happens when sight is removed from play? This is what Vista PEAK Exploratory’s first grade physical education class is discovering through the sport of goalball.
Goalball is a game for visually-impaired athletes that evolved from a way to rehabilitate visually-impaired World War II veterans to a Paralympics game. Teams are comprised of three players who attempt to throw a ball across the other team’s line to score a goal. The ball makes noise when in motion, allowing players to detect its location audibly.
Vista PEAK Exploratory physical education teachers Chris Magrin and Andrea Kunz incorporated goalball into their lesson plan with orientation and mobility specialist Janet Anderson and adapted physical education teachers Donna Carey and Patricia Morrison-Hughes. They determined that rather than only practicing goalball with their one visually-impaired student, it would be great to expose all students to the game, creating a more equitable learning environment.
In addition to playing goalball, the class participates in a variety of physical activities that challenge their ability to perform devoid of sight. In turn, students enhance their ability to register sensory stimuli and, most importantly, gain a deeper understanding of the challenges their fellow visually-impaired classmate may experience.
“It’s all about building relationships,” said Margin. “Our visually-impaired student will remember this for the rest of their life. We want that student to know Vista PEAK loves and accepts them.”