Sports for children with disabilities

Everyone can enjoy the benefits of sport and activity - including disabled people.

father and two children

Introduction

You may think there are too many barriers to playing sport with a disabled child but it doesn't have to be that way.

There are lots of organisations which can help you and your disabled child to enjoy sport at whatever level you wish - so you don't have to be super-talented to take part.

Sport has so many benefits that it would be wrong for disabled children to miss out. It can be fun, sociable and good for your health too.

How to make a magic moment

There are many events to take your child to, which show disabled people actively enjoying sport. What's more, some are free to attend!

A lot of volunteers get involved in sport together as a family. Many disability organisations appreciate all ages and abilities giving up their time for their sport events.

Take it to the park! Sports like boccia can be played anywhere if you want to just have a go.

Why not organise a sports day in your back garden? Get all your friends together and arrange games which everyone can do.

Extra information

So where do you start?

You may have local clubs or groups which have regular activities, which all the family can enjoy. If you already belong to a disability organisation, they may be running sports days.

Your local council will be able to tell you whether they have a particular officer (in the sports and leisure department) who can give you further informatuion.

There are 49 County Sports Partnerships (CSPs) in England. These CSPs are networks of local agencies who work together to increase people taking part in sport and physical activity. The partners include sports organisations and their clubs, school sport partnerships, local authorities, sport and leisure facilities and primary care trusts. You can find your CSP by looking on the County Sports Partnership website.

If you're looking for local sports centres, Sport England have a designated website called 'Active Places' which tells you more about the facilities in your area.

There are disability sport organisations in each home nation (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales) which can support you with more information. They all have websites which give you the latest news and developments.

If your child has a specific impairment (eg wheelchair user, celebral palsy, learning disability) there are national disability sports organisations (NDSOs) which specialise in sport for those impairment groups. They give support and information on equipment, coaching, events and funding sources. They can also tell you about regional contacts.

Depending on the sport, some have dedicated disability projects. Swimming, wheelchair basketball and football are just a few of the sports on offer.
By Sarah Marl

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Expert opinion

Taking part in sport [if you have an impairment] is not just about becoming a Paralympian. It's about enjoying what sport has to offer and the benefits it has on your life. It's brilliant if you win gold medals doing it, but there are many more opportunities out there which let you get involved at every level.

Sarah Marl, English Federation of Disability Sport

Top tips

  • Find out from your local council what is going on in sport for disabled children.Contact the national organisations to see if they have regional contacts.Take your family to sports events which show disabled people taking part.

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