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Old December 30, 2008, 11:47 PM   #3
dogtown tom
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Join Date: January 23, 2006
Location: Plano, Texas
Posts: 1,538
I'm an Adapted Physical Education Specialist for a large school district here in Texas. I work with students K-12 who have mental or physical disabilities that affect gross motor skills and performance in PE, their PE teachers and special ed teachers. I have a number of students that use a wheelchair.

A few observations:

1. Instead of using the terms "confined to a wheelchair" or "chairbound", just say "wheelchair user". While the difference may seem small to most of us or even an attempt at being politically correct, it is actually a more accurate description of their situation. Odds are, they aren't confined or bound- they just use a wheelchair while awake or for mobility. Many wheelchair users CAN stand or walk for limited periods.

2. Focus on what they CAN do- not what they CAN'T do. I'm sure they will be happy to tell or show you what they CAN do. I have students with Spina Bifida who believe they can do ANYTHING and everything- they just don't use their legs. Many wheelchair users have TREMENDOUS upper body strength- a benefit when firing a handgun.

3. Ask the student what do they foresee as a situation they would need to be trained in.

4. Put yourself in their shoes, so to speak. What do they need to know about defensive shooting from a seated position? There are similiar issues that affect the driver and passengers in a car. Drawing while seated is much different than while standing.

5. What techniques would be affected by a wheelchair? On an unlevel surface they roll unless the brake is applied. Applying the brake seems to be one technique that needs to be practiced while the other hand is drawing the firearm.

6. Concealment while in a wheelchair will definitely be an issue. Some may be able to carry IWB or OWB, while others may have physical conditions that prevent actually carrying the firearm on their person.

7. A large part of my job is modifying the class activity so my students can participate in a meaningful way. You don't have to invent something new- just modify what you already do. Ask yourself "what would I do if I were in a wheelchair?".
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