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Two More Stages
Athletes with disabilities have two extra LTAD stages—Awareness and First Contact. They are particularly important for individuals with an acquired disability who may not have been aware of sport and physical activity for persons with a disability.
The Awareness stage informs the general public and prospective athletes with disabilities of the available opportunities. Sport and recreation organizations need to make their offerings and resources known.
Those who acquire a disability generally experience great change and transition. Some of their previous physical activities may no longer be as they were. These individuals may not be aware of the many sporting and physical activities that are available to them.
Awareness plans and effective communication can help to ease this transition and foster awareness among parents and people who work with persons with disabilities.
First Contact Stage
The First Contact stage ensures persons with disabilities have a positive first experience with an activity and remain engaged. Organizations need to train coaches and develop programs that provide suitable orientation for prospective athletes with disabilities, helping them to feel confident and comfortable in their surroundings.
Athletes with disabilities who retire from competition should be encouraged to remain involved in the sport in some capacity. Their experiences make them a vital source of information and encouragement for upcoming athletes.