Tuesday, May 29, 2018

INCLUSIVE AND ADAPTED SPORT. NOT JUST FOR THE DISABLED.

There is much magnificent work going on in terms of creating more opportunities for disabled people to take part in sports and physical activities. I am an Inclusion Sports Coach so I’m one of the people actively and passionately involved in this work. However, as an Inclusion coach, I also believe in the importance of bringing disabled and non-disabled people where possible to play sport together.

Inclusion is not just about disability. Many non-disabled young people have a troubled relationship with PE, sport and physical activity generally.

I regularly come across young people with issues about their bodies. Children and young people who are either overweight or underweight. Those with eczema, scars or other physical conditions which cause them embarrassment. I sometimes work with young people with low self-esteem, self-image or confidence issues.

Young girl, Boccia, Bored, Excluded, Sport
My work in inner city schools and community centres brings me into contact with some people who struggle with English, or are from a culture where families are culturally conservative. Some, not all, can tend to "gender stereotype" and so believe PE and sport are "not for girls".
Asian, Women, Netball, Ethnic, Inclusion, Breaking Barriers
When working on Women and Girls Sports initiatives I sometimes meet the young woman who feels being good at or enjoying sport makes her look unfeminine. But it’s not just girls. What about the boy who is worried about getting hit by the cricket ball, or hurt in the football tackle? Or Boys who don't like sport or PE but whose family put pressure on them to be 'sporty'. And, Girls or boys from families who themselves have had negative experiences in PE or sport.

Black, Woman, Attitude
All of the above can benefit from a more inclusive and adapted approach to sport.
The definition of Inclusion, after all, is - the action or state of including or of being included within a group or structure.

I’m sure we all know people who dreaded sports days and would have given anything to avoid the PE class. By using adaptive, inventive and inclusive activities we can often engage with children who, for many reasons, are not drawn to or are naturally good at mainstream and traditional sports.

All children should be able to experience the joy that taking part in sport can bring, the connections that can be made, the sense of accomplishment and the feeling of being part of something bigger.

Most importantly, let’s take the dread out of sport and by making it “Inclusive”, make it FUN for all!

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