A new project being delivered by Ability Links on the Mid North Coast is teaching students the value of inclusion and giving students of all abilities the opportunity to enjoy sport.
The Sports Ability Project is an early intervention initiative aimed at K – 6 students and staff from across the region and teaches them how to play inclusive games, including Boccia, Seated volleyball and blind-folded goalball.
Ability Links Program Manager, Anna Thompson from Mid Coast Communities’ said, the program had been a hit so far with many schools across the region already benefiting from their sports inclusions kits and training.
“The project was born out of a conversation between an Ability Links Linker and the family of a participant wanting to find more ways for their child to be included,” Anna said.
“From there we linked up with Robbie Veneziano from Coffs Wheelchair Sports NSW, Wheelchair Basketballers group, (and now an Ability Links Linker himself), to teach staff and students about inclusion in sport and Sports Ability Kit games.”
“I’m very passionate about introducing these games and making school life more inclusive for everybody. For me it’s about breaking down the discomfort around disability. Kids tend to get told not to ask questions around disability, we need to normalise it and say it’s ok for kids to ask funny questions, uncomfortable questions.” Robbie said.
Anna said the project gives schools the knowledge and equipment to be more inclusive for kids of all abilities and allows every child to reap the benefits of sport.
“Originally we planned to provide the training for just the one school, however, due to its popularity we are extending it to other schools in the region.”
“By learning to be inclusive early, students see inclusion as a usual, ordinary, thing to do,” Anna said. “This creates a better society for all of us and much better lives for people with disability too.”
“The project provides students a safe space to talk about what inclusion means from the perspective of a wheelchair user, and learn new inclusive games.”
The Ability Links program supports people with disability, their families and carers to live the life they want, as valued members of their community. Ability Links Linkers work with all people and communities and have a range of Linkers with lived experience.
If you would like your school to experience the All Abilities Sports Program, please contact us on (02) 6650 9771
This post was written by Alex Lewers