Pupils at Cairncastle Primary School experienced first hand last Wednesday the challenges faced by disabled athletes.
They were given the opportunity to take part in wheelchair sports such as basketball and racing as well as boccia and blindfolded for visually-impaired football.
The session was facilitated by Disablity Sports Northern Ireland.
Active communities coach Linsay McKeown explained: “We are trying to raise awareness of children at mainstream schools of what people with disabilities are capable of doing. A lot of children at this young age already have an understanding of disability and what it means.
“We tell them wheelchair racing, for example, is like being on a bike, but you have to use your arms instead of your legs.
“We get a lot of pupils asking questions, so we can give them an understanding of what disabled athletes can do.”
These include members of the boccia league at the Valley Leisure Centre, in Newtownabbey, three of whom have trained with the Irish Paralympic Squad and visually-impaired skier and Paralympic gold medallist Kelly Gallagher.
Fellow coach Lisa McCaffrey added: “One of Kelly’s aims is to make people realise what is possible for people with disabilities. Kelly is an inspirational role model, not just for people with disability, but for everyone.”
First to try their hand at the sports was a group of primary seven pupils.
One said: “It was a lot harder than I thought it would be, If people with disabilities can do these sports, then so could we. It was really fun trying.”
They all agreed that disabled athletes who have taken part in these sports are “awesome”.
Cairncastle Primary’s sports co-odinator and teacher Elaine Hamill added: “We wanted to make the children aware that anybody can take part in sport. The athletes have been working with classes primary five to primary seven. and they have been given a chance to try some sports for themselves.
“Hopefully they will also appreciate what they can do themselves. We have a class studying the winter Olympics and this experience has brought it home for them.”