Disability Inclusion in Sport

It has been shown that people with disabilities participate in sport and recreation opportunities an average of 15-20% less than people without a disability. By considering what people with a disability may need in order to get involved in your club, you can positively impact club culture, participation numbers, volunteer skills, and attract sponsors and funding opportunities. Everyone benefits when clubs consider how to be more inclusive of people with a disability.

Play by the Rules suggests that a starting point for clubs to become more inclusive is ‘The 7 Pillars of Inclusion’.

Access: How do people get to your venue and get in? Is it accessible to people with a disability? Is it safe to walk to and from your club and venue? What about public transport? 

Attitude: How do you feel about inclusion? Is your club ready to welcome someone who has a disability, or does it scare or intimidate you?

Choice: Can your sport be adapted or modified to accommodate physical disabilities? Do people have a choice in how they can adapt or modify the sport to suit them?

Partnerships: You don’t need to tackle inclusion on your own. There will be other organisations in your community who share your inclusion goals and will work collaboratively with your club to achieve a common objective. For example: Sports Focus!

Communication: Does your communication reflect your commitment to inclusion? Look for opportunities to let people know that your club is inclusive. 

Policy: Getting the policy right is one of the most effective steps your club could take when aiming to be more inclusive. This doesn’t have to be scary! Click here to visit Play by the Rules and download a copy of their sample policy. This policy can be easily changed and adapted to fit your club.

Opportunity: The opportunity to be healthy, make friends, learn new skills and contribute to the community through sport should be available to all people, regardless of their level of ability.

A great example of an inclusive sporting opportunity is the Bendigo Access All Abilities Basketball team. AAA Basketball is for people with an intellectual disability who would like to learn to play basketball in a fun, friendly and safe environment. The Bendigo Basketball Association, in conjunction with the Bendigo Stadium, run the Access All Abilities (AAA) program for persons with a disability. Participants practice their basketball skills, implementing these skills into a game at the end of the sessions. Each session is run by a coach, and players from either the Bendigo Braves who compete in the South East Australian Basketball League, or Bendigo Spirit who compete in the Australian Women’s National Basketball League.  The program is open for all ages who want to have fun learning the skills of basketball. The program runs during the Victorian school terms, every Wednesday for the duration of the school term and is an affordable $5.00 per person, per session.

For more information on the seven steps to becoming a more inclusive club, please visit Play by the Rules, or if you are interested in the AAA Basketball team or other inclusive,local opportunities, please visit AAAPlay. Please don’t hesitate to contact Sports Focus on 5442 3101 or email admin@sportsfocus.com.au if you have any questions.

Australian Bureau of Statistics – Disability in Sport

Centre for Disease Control and Prevention – Disability in Sport Barriers

Please follow and like us: