Maddi Gaskell


Bachelor of Kinesiology, Adapted Physical Activity Major,  3rd Year 

Course: KIN 472 (Winter 2022) with Instructors Jennifer Leo & Sara Szabo

Who was your community partner and can you describe the project objectives? 

For our CSL placement, we worked with The Steadward Centre that is embedded in the Faculty of Kinesiology within the University. The program helped us to apply the concepts we learnt in class so that we could better evaluate our assumptions around disabilities, as well as learning how to promote and facilitate interdependence in an adapted physical activity setting. The placement provided us knowledge on assessment, program planning, implementation and evaluation of physical activity for individuals experiencing physical impairments. 

What was your biggest takeaway from your CSL placement? 

I think I learnt how big of an impact us as practitioners have on the individuals we work with. Adapted physical activity isn't just about having an inclusive physical environment, it's also about making it an inclusive social environment; participants need to feel welcome in the facility in order to create a positive experience. It's important that we are reflexive in our practice and are aware of the implications of ableism on individuals experiencing disabilities. 

How can you apply any newly gained knowledge/skills to your future endeavours (courses/employment/volunteering)? 

I thoroughly enjoyed this learning opportunity and have decided to continue working with other programs offered through the Steadward Centre. I am planning to work as an occupational therapist when I am done with my schooling; I think this opportunity highlighted for me how there is not a right or wrong way to do things. Modifying an activity doesn't make an activity easier and it's not cheating, it simply makes it accessible and more inclusive. 

What are some of the ways that COVID-19 has affected your community partner or your placement? 

Thankfully, my project this semester was not affected by COVID. However, participants at the gym have mentioned the difference they notice in their stiffness and pain when they have to miss sessions due to having to isolate. Although I was not at the facility during this time, I would assume the gym closing with government regulations would have been really difficult for the participants that rely on the Steadward Centre for their physical and emotional health.