Bean bag toss brings Alberta students with different abilities together

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Bean bag toss brings Alberta students with different abilities together

Sometimes a bean bag toss can have a deeper meaning.

Students at four southern Alberta schools, with and without intellectual disabilities, came together in the spirit of competition and inclusiveness but more importantly, to make connections.

"It is to get the students working together," Shanna Kurylo told CBC News Thursday.

"To look for common ground between one another so that they are focusing on what makes them similar, and how they can become friends based on their similarities, rather than separating themselves based on their differences."

Kurylo is the Unified Sports program co-ordinator with Alberta Schools' Athletic Association, in partnership with Special Olympics Alberta.

Ian Ferguson, a physical education teacher at Bert Church High School in Airdrie, Alta., one of the schools participating, says he's seen connections made first hand from the program.

"I think it is a great way to have kids get to know one another who may not necessarily run in the same circles," Ferguson said.

"In any high school you have groups that end up hanging out together more and any chance you have to increase the connectivity in your building is a fantastic one."

For Kurylo, it's about helping students with disabilities become more comfortable with pursuing sports outside of school.

"It is especially important for the athletes because they are building these relationships within their schools and with their peers and then they are more likely to go on after school and continue participating in sport and get more involved in their communities."

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