Inclusion: Reaching New Heights Together

Setting goals is a common practice of coaches and athletes of every caliber.  Whether you are a coach or an athlete on a professional or collegiate scale, or if you are trying to get back into a regular exercise plan, it is vital to establish an outlined goal to facilitate and monitor your rate of growth.  

In order for any person to see physical or mental growth and change, specific and tangible goals for improvement need to be set in place. The same case holds true for individuals in the special needs community. However, often times children and adults with special needs are not expected to improve in certain areas of their lives. Part of the reason for this is because many goals that individuals with typical needs attempt to achieve are not adapted to meet the needs of those in the special needs community. Within an inclusive environment, individuals with special needs are more than capable of achieving their physical activity goals.  Setting the right goal for an individual with special needs is one of the foundations of an inclusive adapted physical activity environment.  

One highly successful goal-setting method that is well known across the realm of physical activity and beyond is the S.M.A.R.T. criteria. Each letter stands for a quality that is required for a goal to be reachable. When all of these qualities are present in a target goal, the outcome of an attempt to reach that goal is far more likely to result in success.  

S.M.A.R.T. consists of the following:

  • Specific – stating and defining exactly what success looks like
  • Measurable – providing a way to evaluate or measure progress
  • Achievable – attempt something within your reach
  • Realistic/Relevant – reach for something that will be relevant in more than one area of life
  • Time Bound – provide a specific time frame you wish to reach your goal

S.M.A.R.T. goals grant individuals with both typical and special needs the ability to have a greater chance to achieve their athletic, academic, and even social goals.  Success in all of these areas begin with setting the right goals. When the goals are adapted and the levels of difficulty and challenge are just right, any child can succeed.  Adapted physical activity allows for adapted goals, which in turn helps in facilitating an inclusive environment. The best part about attempting to reach a goal in an inclusive environment is that everyone participating in the inclusive activity is working to achieve the same goal despite a difference in needs.

One thing that you can do moving forward is to work together with your friends and family to create some goals for yourself and your peers.  S.M.A.R.T. goals are effective in more than just a physical activity setting. Setting the right goal for yourself, your peers, or even your children can provide the steady foundation needed to push toward a healthier lifestyle.  In the case of E-Sports, reaching more people and facilitating even more inclusive communities.



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