Nightly News | January 27, 2013
>>> still in washington, the education department is taking action to make sure disabled school children are not shut out from school sports programs. nbc's chief education correspondent rehema ellis has that story.
>> reporter: it was a big week for 13-year-old owen grosser. get in there.
>> reporter: sinking not one but two three-pointers the first time he stepped out onto the court this season. owen, an eighth grader, has down syndrome. disabled students like him already have the right to participate in school sports but this week, the department of education released new guidelines on how to incorporate those students onto teams, something some cash-strapped schools have struggled with.
>> we have needed more cooperation, more guidelines from the top. and we believe this is going to lead to some standardization and certainly more opportunity for these families and kids.
>> reporter: some of the doe's suggestions are simple, a visual cue for hearing-impaired student who wants to run track, the elimination of the two-hand touch rule in swimming so a student with one arm can compete. but the recommendations also state when existing school programs cannot accommodate those with disabilities, the school district should create additional opportunities for those students, meaning, a new team. although some liken it to title ix , the department of education cautions against that comparison, saying these are guidelines, not a mandate. schools will not be required to dismantel an existing team because they don't have enough disabled students to field a comparable team.
>> we have been age to create one or two teams per school district , you're not going to find enough students in one school to necessarily start a team.
>> push. push for the basket.
>> reporter: adam mcwork, an eighth grader, has cerebral palsy , he lives outside atlanta, an area that has been successfully mainstreaming disabled students in sports for years.
>> yes, sir. he used a walker to get around with and we didn't think that sports was something that he could do at all.
>> reporter: now, he stands like every proud dad on the sidelines.
>> my son scored his first goal in the final game, so excited about that the gym was so loud. we'd good time. shoot it, baby.
>> reporter: something more families across the country may soon experience.
>> oh, yeah.
>> reporter: rehema ellis you nbc news,