Research on Children with disabilities accessing mainstream sports
In early 2014 the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) was approached by All Kids Can Play to analyse data from an online survey they were conducting about inclusion of children with disability in mainstream sport. This report presents the research findings from this survey.
Some of the findings of the report include:
• Across all respondents there was an overwhelming recognition of the benefits of children participating in mainstream sport.
• The physiological and health benefits of playing sport were barely mentioned by parents with the major benefit seen as the psychosocial benefits to the child.
• There was also an acknowledgement of the benefits of having a child with a disability play on a team for the entire team in terms of empathy, acceptance and normalising of disability.
• The“disability”is often seen by the parent, coach or teacher as the first limitation to participation whether perceived or otherwise.
• The disability is a limiting factor in certain situations. However, the challenge is to determine whether the underlying impairment is constraining the child or whether other interpersonal or structural constraints are the limiting factors.
• A child is heavily reliant on others to facilitate their participation and inclusion in a sporting team. Children must rely on their parents to source the sport, transport and fund their participation.
• In a disability sport context, children with a disability often lack other children with a disability to participate with.
• The way training and skill building is undertaken by coaches has a major effect on participation and retention rates.
• Parents felt that they lacked knowledge and awareness of just what sports were available for their children.
• Economic factors such as the cost of participation and the need for specialised equipment make sport a ‘luxury’ for some families.
• Parents expressed that their children felt less able, comfortable, confident or accepted in the team where the sole outcome is for a win rather than participation.
• Sporting clubs and coaches present a very positive response to inclusion. However, the implementation to ensure increased participation rates falls short as reported by parents or children with disability.
• The mainstream school sporting experience varies greatly between respondents, from successful integrated programs to no sport and no interest shown to students with disabilities.
• Overall evidence would suggest that there is a will by sport clubs and schools to increase participation and inclusion, however there are still a number of barriers that need to be overcome to see this will become reality.
Click on the image to download your copy of the Summary Report or contact us for a copy of the full Research Report.