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The inclusion spectrum

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The Inclusion Spectrum incorporating STEP

This is an activity-centered approach to the inclusion of young people of all abilities in physical activity. Inclusion can be achieved by changing the way in which the activity is presented.

The Inclusion Spectrum provides physical activity/ sport teachers, coaches and volunteers with different methods of supporting inclusion. By delivering activities differently we can balance different needs within the group and so helping to maximise the potential of all young people.

The Inclusion Spectrum Framework

  1. Everyone can play – naturally inclusive activities based on what everyone can do with little or no modifications E.g. warm ups and cools downs, where children can find the level of participation that suits them; and/or collecting or gathering games- for example, gathering up objects scattered around the playing area and arranging them into by colour.
  2. Change to include – everyone does the same activity using adaptations to provide both support and challenge across a range of different abilities; the STEP model (space, task, equipment and people) can be used to provide a structure for adapting and modifying the activities (see the STEP section for examples).
  3. Ability groups – participants are grouped according to ability - each group does a version of the same activity, but at a level which suits the individuals in each group E.g. creating two or more versions of the same activity, (e.g. a standing version and a seated version of volleyball).
  4. Alternate or separate activity –individuals work temporarily on specific skills leading to more successful inclusion in the whole group; sometimes, in order to include someone more effectively, they need to practise separately first. Note: this should not be most of the time.
  5. Adapted physical activity and disability sport – aspects of physical activity based on adapted physical activity or disability sport programmes can be included in all approaches; this provides specific opportunities for disabled students and a new challenge for non-disabled students - ‘reverse integration’. E.g. children with disabilities teach their non-disabled peers a Paralympic sport activity, like boccia (bocce); or as a project, young people can learn the rules, improvise the equipment, and organise and run small competitions based on disability sport.

Note: when applying the Spectrum model to practical situations, there will always be some individuals who will require an individualised approach.

The Inclusion Spectrum framework





The Inclusion Spectrum framework can be adapted to support: competition, by providing a range of activities that correspond to the Spectrum categories; differentiation across any range of abilities, not only where young people with Special Education Needs & Disability are involved; as a basis for inclusion in its widest sense; for example, cultural differences.

The STEP model

This can be used to support the Inclusion Spectrum ‘Change to Include’ approach. Changes in the way the activity is delivered can be made in one or more of the STEP areas (Space, Task, Equipment, People).



  • Increase or decrease the size of the playing area
  • Vary the distance to be covered in activities to suit different abilities
  • Use zoning, e.g. where children are matched by ability and therefore have more opportunity to participate



  • Ensure that everyone has equal opportunity to participate, e.g. in a ball game, all the players have the chance to carry/dribble, pass or shoot
  • Break down complex skills into smaller component parts if this helps players to develop skills more easily
  • Ensure there is adequate opportunity for players to practise skills or components individually or with a partner before including in a small-sided team game



  • In ball games, increase or decrease the size of the ball to suit the ability of the children, or on the kind of skill being practised
  • Provide options that enable people to send or receive a ball in different ways, e.g. using a chute or gutter to send, a catching mitt to receive
  • The use of bell or rattle balls can assist the inclusion of some players



  • Match players of similar ability in small-sided or close marking activities
  • Balance team numbers according to the overall ability of the group, i.e. it may be preferable to play with teams of unequal numbers to facilitate inclusion of some players and maximise participation of others.



editors comments

Editor's comments - [  Ken Black’s inclusion spectrum has been around for quite a while, it is a practice model of adapted physical activity. Ken has teamed up with similarly highly respected practitioners from around the globe to develop a useful resource for the inclusion of all people (not limited to disability) in sport and physical activity.

Whilst we include some of it here we would particularly encourage students and practitioners to avail themselves of the wealth (and growing) number of instructive web resources (video, written, practice and interviews) in this area at : a must for students interested in the practical delivery of inclusive sport and physical activity. ]  Reference this?Black, K. Stevenson, P. (2011). This page title in italics. Retrieved date, from <this page's full URL>

In the text: Cryer (year)


APA reference for this document


Reference : Black, K. Stevenson, P. (2011). The inclusion spectrum. Australia:


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Download this file (Ken_Black_-_Inclusion_Spectrum_summary (1).pdf)Ken_Black_-_Inclusion_Spectrum_summary (1).pdfBlack, K. Stevenson, P. (2011). The inclusion spectrum. Australia:
Download this file (What_Is_Inclusion.pdf)What_Is_Inclusion.pdfDowns, P. Black, K. (2012) What is inclusion in sport for people with a disability. Aus:
Download this file (MAKING_CONTACT.pdf)MAKING_CONTACT.pdfThe Inclusion Club. (2012) Making Contact: What happens when people with disability turn up?. Aus:
Download this file (club_checklist3.pdf)club_checklist3.pdfClub Checklist
Download this file (inclusion_PE_sport.pdf)inclusion_PE_sport.pdfPE Checklist
Download this file (opportunity_knocks.pdf)opportunity_knocks.pdfDowns, P. (2011). Where opportunity knocks. Aus: The inclusion club
Last Updated on Saturday, 21 July 2012 16:11  

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