Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Breann Lamborn


Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians of North Dakota; Disabled Children; Health Promotion--methods


The percentage of children with disabilities in the United States (U.S.) is increasing at an alarming rate. According to the 2000 census, 3.9% of all families reported having a child with disabilities. As of the 2010 census, there were 53.9 million school-aged children (aged 5 to 17) in the U.S with about 2.8 million (5.2%) reporting a disability. Among the American Indian population, these rates are increasing at an even higher rate. American Indians have the highest rates of disability of any group in the United States (Nichols & Keltner, 2005). According to Waldman, Perlman, and Swerdloff (2008), more than 23% of the American Indian population has one or more disabilities. Of those who have disabilities, more than 50,000 are children and 39,000 have multiple disabilities (Waldman et al., 2008).

The National Youth Sports Program/Belcourt Youth Activities Program (NYSP/BYAP) is offered to children ages 7-17 at the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians Reservation for 4 weeks in the summer to educate children on health and wellness topics, as well as career opportunities (Martin, 2015). The physical activities that the children participate in are volleyball, basketball, floor hockey, track and field, strength and conditioning, yoga, weightlifting, kickball, softball/moshball, flag football, and swimming (Martin, 2015). Currently, the physical activities are not adapted for children with physical disabilities to be able to fully participate in them. Therefore the purpose of this scholarly project is to adapt several of the physical activities currently offered by the NYSP/BYAP in order for children with disabilities on the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians Reservation be able to participate in these tasks with other children of their age. This will be achieved by adapting several of the physical activities currently offered by the NYSP/BYAP.

An extensive literature review and communication with the program director of the NYSP/BYAP led to the creation of a manual for the program direction and staff to utilize. The manual begins with a description of the need to make these adaptations, the importance of inclusion for children with disabilities, and specific considerations for disabilities and adaptation. Next, a list of the adapted tasks include, step-by step directions/suggestions on how to modify yoga, strength and conditioning, weightlifting, volleyball, and swimming. Pictures are also provided with each of the tasks. Lastly, resources are included at the end of the product to educate staff about what assistance is available for children with disabilities, helpful organizations and websites on education about adapted sports, where to find adaptive equipment, and where to seek out financial assistance for purchasing adaptive equipment.

The primary goal of this product is to ensure that all children will participate in the adapted tasks in the NYSP/BYAP to improve health and wellness among this population. The manual will be given to Dr. Shane Martin, CSCS, to be distributed to the staff. Dr. Martin would then decide whether or not to implement the adaptations. Occupational therapy students will be able to provide assistance in carrying out these tasks for this program and make additional suggestions for adaptations to the tasks. This scholarly project may also lead to the development of an emerging fieldwork site with the NYSP/BYAP.