Marni Abbott-Peter, a three time gold medalist in the Paralympics for wheelchair basketball and Let’s Play director for the BC Wheelchair Basketball Society, teaches students how to use sport-oriented wheelchairs. (School District #83 photo)

School District #83 rolls out wheelchairs for physical education

Sport wheelchairs, available for schools to use, help students develop empathy

North Okanagan-Shuswap students will be developing more than their upper bodies through the use of sport wheelchairs in gym class.

Schools within School District #83 now have access to wheelchairs for students to use during PE classes.

In May, Marni Abbott-Peter, a three-time gold medalist in the Paralympics for wheelchair basketball and Let’s Play Director for the BC Wheelchair Basketball Society, visited schools in the North Okanagan-Shuswap. She brought with her a set of sport wheelchairs and taught students how to use them.

Read more: Heroism medal for B.C. woman who tried to save man in wheelchair stuck on railroad tracks

Read more: Okanagan woman turns 104, takes tandem wheelchair ride

The idea to have a set of sport wheelchairs available full-time within School District #83 came about when Abbott-Peter’s sister, Kira Limber, a teacher at Shuswap Middle School, brought in one of the wheelchairs for her students to try during PE class.

Laura Paiement, SD83’s healthy schools and self-regulation coordinator, saw this and wanted to expand the idea to the district.

Abbott-Peter applied for two grants, one for the chairs and another for the trailer, to take them to and from the various schools in the district.

Paiement says among the positive impacts of having wheelchair games and sports in PE classes is the opportunity for students to develop empathy. Also, having the wheelchairs has increased students’ desire to participate in activities.

“Not everyone feels very confident because they may not be confident in their skills,” Paiement said. “But when everyone is in the wheelchairs we have a level playing field.”

Read more: Man in wheelchair escapes Cultus Lake mobile home fire

Read more: Wheelchair boxing demo prompts jab at national movement

The students are taught basic wheeling skills through obstacle courses followed by games of tag. From there, various sports are introduced. The children decide what games they would like to play. The popular recess game four square was modified so the kids could play it while in the chairs.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Students learn to use the district’s new chairs by playing tag. (School District #83 photo)

Just Posted

Salmon Arm demonstrators show unity with Black Lives Matter movement

Participants speak out against systemic racism and targeting of vulnerable populations

RCMP seek to identify person of interest in Salmon Arm arson investigation

Police believe a June 4 residential garage fire was deliberately set

Revelstoke, North Okanagan RCMP team up to nab Alberta man, stolen BMW

Helicopter, dogs used in North Okanagan highway arrest

Salmon Arm West bridge construction expected to begin in fall 2020

Budget for Highway 1 project up $20 million over intial 2016 estimate

No active confirmed COVID-19 cases in Interior Health: BCCDC

Numbers from the BCCDC’s dashboard show 193 of the 195 COVID-19 cases in the region have recovered

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

Penticton Search and Rescue respond to six calls in less than a week

Two hikers rescued in early morning search near Greyback Lake latest in series of searches

Regional District of Kootenay Boundary rescinds all Grand Forks-area evacuation orders

Evacuation alerts for 1,136 Boundary properties remain in effect as officials monitor forecasts

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

In photos: Modified, yet traditional graduation gives Penticton graduates a sense of normalcy

Students around Penticton take part in pre-recorded graduation ceremonies

Filming to resume safely later in June: Okanagan Film Commission

Film commissioner Jon Summerland said they want to start filming again later in June

Kelowna RCMP investigate woman’s sudden death

Criminality is not suspected at this time, according to RCMP

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Most Read