Changing Lives Through Disability Inclusion Many disabled adults in society experience a lack of opportunities in their lives as they transition into adulthood On Thursday 26 October, Access Sport’s Inclusive Club Network came together for a webinar focusing on Changing Lives Through Disability Inclusion. This fantastic event brought clubs, coaches, and volunteers together to learn more about the importance of disability inclusion and the positive impact it can have on young people’s lives. The webinar featured guest speakers from Sense and Nova Sports and Coaching. We also heard from Katie Chapman (PE Lead at Watergate SEND School) and Angela Sutton (parent of participant). What’s the problem? Disabled people are half as likely to be active as non-disabled people, with less than half of all children and young people meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s activity guidelines1. Despite this issue, investment in and access to inclusive community sport and physical activity and all its transformational benefits is inadequate. We believe that all disabled people should have the same opportunities to access community sport as their non-disabled peers. Through this webinar, we wanted to support clubs to create sporting environments that enable disabled people to access the life-changing benefits of community sports, including learning new life skills, improved well-being and a sense of community. Key learnings During the webinar, we heard from clubs and organisations that have made meaningful progress towards improved disability inclusion, and we also had some fascinating discussions about their plans going forward. Some key learnings included: Autonomy: When we have autonomy, we have choice and control over our own decisions. Many disabled adults in society experience a lack of opportunities in their lives as they transition into adulthood. However, participating in a sport promotes autonomy, creates a sense of belonging, and encourages independence. Understanding your participants: Take the time to get to know them as individuals, including their likes and dislikes and what they’re working on outside of school. Always speak with them, as well as their parent/carers, to ensure you are providing them with the support they need. Focus on the Environment: Make sure the space is suitable for the young people that access it, including facilities, types of sessions, and how it will be adapted. Ultimately, your session should allow your participants to be their authentic selves Facilitate Exploration: When delivering sessions, sometimes creating an opportunity for your participants to explore has just as much impact on your participant as teaching and developing a skill. Your participant is still making guided choices and decisions that are supporting them in that very situation as well as outside of sport. Holistic Benefits: You may see an individual improve their physical skills, such as balance, mobility and fitness. However, remember that your sessions are also improving communication, social skills, confidence and independence. Your participants can then take these invaluable skills into their everyday lives. Upcoming Disability Inclusion Training Following this webinar, we are hosting two Disability Inclusion Training sessions. These online workshops aim to give clubs more knowledge, skills and confidence in delivering sessions to disabled people, as well as how to make your wider club more inclusive. You can sign up for these sessions below. Tuesday 21 November – 6 – 8:30 pm Sign up > Thursday 23 November – 1 – 3.30 pm Sign up > Resources There’s lots of information already out there but we’ve created a list of different resources that can help support you to create a more inclusive environment at your club. See the links below: Activity Alliance, Annual Survey 22/23 Club Matters, How to Create an Inclusive Environment Sense, Further Information and Advice Get in TouchPlease get in touch with us to tell us how you’re empowering more disabled people and please tell us what actions you’re going to take to prioritise disabled people at your club.[email protected] References: 1 Sport England, Active Lives Children and Young People Survey 2021-2022.