From Our Founder ARIELLE HOBBS
“In an wild lion pride, each lion possesses unique talents and strengths. Although individually strong and mighty – only collectively will they thrive. They lean on each other, support and care for one another, and ultimately celebrate together.”
After moving to Austin, I jumped right into finding sports and activities for my two older boys, Jax and Sully. Jax is your typical nine year old – loves sports, friends, music, skateboarding, and his iPad. Sully is my non-verbal, intellectually disabled seven year old, who also loves sports, friends, music, his scooter, and (of course) his iPad.
It was easy for me to get Jax involved in group sports and activities, but I had a much harder time finding activities for Sully. After a humiliating experience with a local sports association, I turned my disappointment into my motivation. Thus began my journey to inclusion for the disability community.
Instead of focusing on directly serving the disability community, I saw an opportunity to educate the general population. 14% of children have a diagnosed disability, which is not including the many various special needs that are not considered a diagnosed disability (CDC.gov). Students with disabilities have lower rates of participation in school activities, leading to decreased socialization and decreased leadership development (disabled-world.com).
Socialization is important to mental health and well-being, and can help a growing child be more self-sufficient and confident (nchpad.org). Self-esteem and building friendships benefit all students involved in The Lion League. With inclusion, both typical children and children with disabilities show overall academic improvements and a greater motivation to learn (wrightslaw.com). Students become more respectful and productive when their peers with disabilities are included. Inclusion introduces life lessons that are not in any textbook. This encourages personal excellence, and fosters interdependence as each person makes valuable contributions to society (friendshipcircle.org).
Please let us know if we can answer any questions you may have. I look forward to your school standing up for inclusion with The Lion League!