Shehzaib Khan


Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology, 4th Year 

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

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

We worked at The Steadward Centre, and we were going through an exercise program with individuals who experience disability. The objectives included using lecture-based knowledge to encourage and support our client’s  participation at The Steadward Centre requiring adaptive techniques/equipment for various physical activities, engaging in exercise planning and delivery that is appropriate, highly innovative, and tailored to the needs of our participant and building relationships with and collaborating with the teaching assistant, staff of Steadward Centre, and participants to gain applied knowledge and skills in disability management.  

What was your biggest takeaway from your CSL placement? 

It is immensely important to build a bridge of mutual understanding and respect between yourself and the participant. We need to be cognizant of the exercise goals of our participant, while challenging them in a manner that is appropriate for their capabilities. Through collaboration between the participant and yourself, we can ensure that they are meeting their exercise goals while also respecting their autonomy. This in return can not only create a bonding with the participant, but it can build mutual respect, professional rapport, and a sense of belongingness to create a holistic and inclusive environment.

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

Through the lab experiences and knowledge gained from the lecture content, I am focused on continuing to be an advocate and ally in the disability community. As I start my practicum opportunity in the field of Adapted Physical Activity (APA) through Equality Fitness & Recreation, I hope to build new experiences, expand on my current knowledge and assumptions, and become a better ally towards disabled individuals. After graduation, I will continue to volunteer to spread awareness and advocacy to further challenge current perceptions and build an inclusive society which emphasizes the value of all individuals rather than focusing on the physical ability. As I further move into my career goals of becoming a dentist, I want to enhance and create a more inclusive environment in my clinic and increase social awareness about disability among my staff members. I will strive to create an inclusive environment in my clinic through having accessible dental chairs and equipment for individuals experiencing disabilities. I will also focus on hiring a diverse staff and encourage my colleagues and staff members to educate themselves about disabilities to create an inclusive environment. Furthermore, I would advocate social awareness in the community as it is vital to create acceptance, support, and enthusiasm concerning disability issues. 

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

Due to the pandemic, my participant was not able to attend activities offered at recreation centres, such as swimming. This was extremely difficult for my participant as prior to his disability he was an experienced endurance runner and hence, swimming would provide him with the ability to participate in aerobic based activity post-disability. This would help him in many areas such as: (1) alleviate pressure off of muscles and joints, (2) build muscular strength and power, (3) improve mental health, (4) improve heart rate, and (5) enhance social well-being and independence. As my participant was not given the opportunity in these areas during the pandemic, he achieved most of these skills through our time together at The Steadward Centre. Furthermore, due to COVID-19, I was experiencing a lack of social connection and professional relationships as my volunteer organization was under the pandemic. However, I was able to create a sense of belonging, rapport, and a professional connection with my participant through the PAL sessions. Throughout the completion of the PAL sessions, my participant and I were able to bond and develop a professional relationship which was beneficial and an exciting experience for both of us.