Whilst young disabled people valued sport and recreation opportunities finding them of positive value across all settings and in all contexts, they do not access opportunities on a regular basis.
Clearly disability per se is not a barrier to taking part in sport and recreation. Yet despite growing policy and legislation promoting increased participation in sports and physical recreation by young disabled people only a limited number of young disabled people do participate.
Of those participating the major setting for participation by far was the national Physical Education curriculum which was higher than the national average. Few young disabled people had access to sport and physical activity opportunities outside those offered within curricular time including after-school clubs (which was lower than the national average), community opportunities, and general play.
Whilst the number of activities participated in was not affected by ethnic background, and boys participated slightly more than girls the most significant factor affecting participation was the persons impairment, with those with multiple impairments less likely to participate than those with a single impairment.
The most common curriculum sports across impairment groups and genders were Swimming, Boccia, Ball Games, Football, Athletics, and Cricket. In community settings Play, Swimming, Football, Badminton, and theme parks were the most frequent sports and activities participated in. Activities such as Swimming, Boccia, Athletics and Horse Ridding had a particularly important role for those young disabled people with multiple impairments.
Barriers to participation included access to facilities and equipment, attitudes of staff and the general public, inappropriate activities, getting there, personal issues, and lack of support. Increased staff training, more appropriate opportunities, better information on the opportunities, improvements in facilities and access to equipment, specific support, transport and concession prices would all improve access to sports and recreation opportunities.
The majority of young disabled people expressed a preference for participating in a ‘sporting environment’ especially if within a disability sports club with other people with similar impairments or an after-school club with friends. General sports clubs with other sportspeople was cited above accessing activities in a wider youth environment such as youth clubs or holiday schemes.
With regard to the type of activity young disabled people would like to participate in the results reflected may of the activities young disabled people already participating in.
These, however, were not the only sports mentioned, again demonstrating that young disabled people have similar desires and broad horizons as any young person. The list including cricket, goalball, snooker, rock climbing, abseiling, quad biking, mountain biking, dance, self-defence (especially as it may help with being bullied), sailing, netball, athletics, gym/fitness, boccia, pool, scuba-diving, go-cart racing, basketball, badminton, tennis, and skiing.
Editor's comments - [ The findings in this 2005 report demonstrate that a comprehensive action is needed to bring participation in sport and physical activity by young disabled people to a level that is acceptable within today’s policy frameworks of sport, health and social inclusion. Increased participation can only be achieved if the barriers faced by young disabled people are removed and positive action taken by the providers of opportunities to offer a service that is not only accessible but supportive of the young disabled persons needs. ] Reference this?Cryer, J. (Year). This page title in italics. Retrieved date, from <this page's full URL>
In the text: Cryer (year)
Reference : EFDS. (2005). Young disabled people's experiences of accessing sport/leisure opportunities in Leicester. Leicester: Leicester Health Action Zone Children’s Services.
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