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Modified jump ropes for students with multiple intellectual and physical disabilities

This is an excerpt from Build It So They Can Play by Teresa Sullivan,Cindy Slagle,T.J. Hapshie,Debbie Brevard & Vic Brevard.

Modified Jump Ropes

  • Need and Disability

These are tools for students with multiple intellectual and physical disabilities. Students with emerging skills work on balance and coordination with a choice of modified ropes to ensure success.

  • Tools

Hand saw or PVC pipe cutter, tape measure

  • Supplies

1 speed jump rope

1 strip of double-sided Velcro 12 inches long

1 hula hoop or swim noodle

1 T-joint (depending on diameter of hula hoop)

2 elbow joints (depending on diameter of hula hoop)

2 small screws

1 piece of 1/2-inch PVC pipe (different lengths to meet needs of students)

2 washers

1 tennis ball

1 poly or sponge cylinder

PVC glue and multipurpose glue

  • Instructions

Modification 1

This jump rope allows students with limited use of one arm to jump a self-turning rope.

1. Remove one handle of jump rope and thread through the bottom of the PVC T-joint and knot rope so it cannot come out.

2. Thread a Velcro strip through the top PVC T-joint.

3. Attach the Velcro strip around and above the student’s elbow. (The top of the T-joint is against the arm and the bottom of the T-joint faces out so the rope is free to turn.)


Modification 2

1. Take a hula hoop and cut it at one point. This might need to be a rather large hula hoop depending on how long your PVC pipe is.

2. Attach hula hoop and PVC pipe together with small screws and glue.

3. Attach PVC pipe to elbow joints using PVC glue. Length will depend on size of hula hoop when it is expanded to desired arc.


Modification 3

Put an ordinary speed jump rope or link rope through a hula hoop or a swim noodle. This keeps the arc of the jump rope. It also helps slow down the rope and gives a visual representation along with the weight and sound.

1. Take off one handle of jump rope.

2. Cut hula hoop to desired length (depending on size and ability of student).

3. Thread jump rope through hula hoop.

4. Reattach handle of jump rope.


Modification 4

1. Cut an ordinary speed jump rope approximately 12 to 15 inches from the handles, making sure to leave the handles intact.

2. At the end of the cut section, make a knot in the rope or thread rope through a thick washer and knot it on the end.

3. Take two tennis balls and cut two 1-inch slits on opposite sides of each ball.

4. Slip end of knot and washer into the ball. This will give students the sense of turning a jump rope.

5. Make a complete speed rope with tennis balls on each side:

a. With the remaining rope, attach washers to ends and secure with knot.

b. Connect speed rope to the two balls by inserting washers into tennis balls.

  • Ideas for Using This Equipment
    • Students may use these modified jump ropes the same ways a regular jump rope might be used.
    • Make a ladder chart of skills for students (such as 1 foot, scissor kick, high kick, front and back).

Learn more about Build It So They Can Play.