Different Speeds and Different Needs: How to Teach Sports to Every Kid

Author: Gary Barber

Format: Paperback, 272 pages, 7.0 x 10.0
ISBN: 9781598571004
Price: $29.95

Add to cart


Involvement in sports can be an empowering and enriching experience for all children. But how can children with different learning needs and physical abilities break through barriers and stereotypes on the playing field to find acceptance and success? This comprehensive guide shows K-12 teachers and coaches how to establish, revamp, and sustain inclusive sports programs that benefit students with a wide range of special needs and challenges.

Drawing on the most current research and best practices in education and social-emotional development, this book empowers readers to recognize their students' unique strengths and challenges and provide appropriate encouragement and support. Teachers and coaches working in educational and community recreation settings will learn how to

  • create sports environments where all children thrive
  • assess emotional and social competence to ensure that children are ready for sports
  • change attitudes that inhibit participation or make a child feel excluded
  • promote good sportsmanship to enhance character development of children with or without disabilities
  • use universal design principles to teach sports to people with different needs
  • become more effective coaches by following essential tips and examples and avoiding common coaching pitfalls

Each chapter ends with a 4-part checklist that helps readers immediately put the suggested strategies to use, and abundant illustrative examples and insightful quotes from children, parents, and coaches bring the book's powerful message to life.

With this positive, motivating book-written by an expert who's also the father of two children with autism—teachers and coaches will have the clear guidance they need to develop inclusive sports programs where all children join in the fun.

Chapters address many different needs and abilities:

  • physical difficulties, coordination, and mobility challenges
  • ADHD and other attention difficulties
  • behavioral challenges and bullying
  • autism spectrum disorders
  • Tourette syndrome
  • visual or hearing impairments
  • height and weight challenges, obesity, and eating disorders
  • body image dissatisfaction and low self-esteem
  • anxiety, stress, and depression
  • intellectual challenges, learning disabilities, and giftedness


Review: The Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
"An excellent resourceThe information is practical, nicely organized, and will help both parents and coaches create more successful and meaningful youth sports experiences for children with disabilities."
Review by: John P. Price, Principal, Audubon School
"Helps teachers think through ideas that will make physical education a challenging and affirming place for all students . . . provides an excellent entry point into curricular adaptations in physical education, and all other non-core curricular areas."
Review by: Veronica M. Moore, University of New Mexico
"An absolute must read for anyone involved in athletic or coaching fields. Wonderful, useful tips for working with all kids in sports and new insight on what inclusive health and wellness should look like in the schools and community."
Review by: Martin E. Block, Professor, Adapted Physical Education - Kinesiology Program, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
"A welcome addition to the field of adapted physical education and youth sports . . . provide[s] concrete information on how to include children with disabilities."
Review by: Mary Louise Witoski
"An invaluable book and highly recommended; whether you are a parent, teacher, or coach, you will be touched."
Review by: Martha F. Keller, psychologist, Victoria, B.C.
"Reflects an unusual sensitivity and compassion for children, and a profound respect for their differences . . . should be a core reference for anyone providing support or services to children with special needs."

Table of Contents

About the Author



Section I. Creating a Sports Environment in Which All Participants Can Thrive

  1. Sports for All, or for Just the Talented Children?
  2. Inclusion and Sports
  3. The Importance of Play and Sports in Children's Development
  4. Attitudes, Participation, and the Development of Friendships in Sports
  5. Using Sports to Promote Character and Acceptance

Section II. Understanding and Teaching Students with Differences

  1. Teaching and Coaching Children with Different Athletic Abilities and Learning Needs
  2. Effective Teaching Tips and Coaching Styles
  3. Sports for Young Athletes with Physical Difficulties and Coordination and Mobility Challenges
  4. Understanding Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
  5. Sports for Young Athletes with Tourette Syndrome
  6. Sports for Young Athletes with Autism Spectrum Disorders
  7. Sports for Young Athletes with Sensory Impairments
  8. Sports for Young Athletes with Height and Weight Differences
  9. Sports for Young Athletes with a Vast Range of Intellectual Abilities
  10. Sports for Athletes with Specific Learning Disabilities
  11. Addressing Anxiety, Stress, and Social Confidence Issues in Young Athletes
  12. Putting It All Together: Creating a Sporting Environment Where All Children Can Thrive


Appendix Resources


Customer Account

Create an account

Forgot password?

International Customers

If you are shipping outside of the U.S., please send an email with the total order and shipping address to store@monacoassociates.com before checking out. We will calculate your shipping cost, and you will complete your checkout using international postage units. Thank you!