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Accessible sports for people with a disability

It’s officially winter and the days are drawing in. It’s tempting to consider staying in instead of going out. If you know you’re not exercising as much as you could, here are some ideas for accessible sports. Finding a support worker to go with you could make all the difference.

AusPlay data, produced by the Australian Sports Commission, indicates that almost seventy per cent of people with a disability or physical condition which restricts their life in some way tend to participate in sport or activity at least once per week.

However, of those that do participate, three in four people are not satisfied with the type and frequency of exercise opportunities available.

What accessible sports are out there?

Whatever you’re interested in, there’s a chance there is an accessible sport for you. You can choose to play in a team of mixed abilities or similar disabilities. Whether you’re looking to play for fun, or train to compete seriously, here are some options to consider.

For the blind and vision impaired

Some sports use noise to help you locate the ball or follow a sighted person on a course. Some examples are showdown, goalball and torball. You can compete against sighted players too, as everyone wears eye masks.

Blind Sports Australia runs national and state competitions for 14 different sports, from cricket to powerlifting. You could also try a recreational activity like aerobics, canoeing or surfing.

For people with physical disabilities

People living with physical disability can try everything from wheelchair basketball to blow darts. Wheelchair sports are usually fast-paced, providing a great cardio workout. There are also more relaxed sports which include dancing and table tennis.

The Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association is a Queensland-based not for profit organisation which offers “Come and Try Days” for people with physical disabilities. The 36 sports listed on their website include archery, canoeing, cue sports, handcycling, martial arts and softball.

For people who are deaf or hearing impaired

People with a hearing impairment can take part in sports that use visual cues in place of audio cues. This might involve a light to start a race rather than a whistle or a gun. Sports on offer include athletics, swimming, cricket, rugby and golf.

If your local sports club doesn’t cater for you, Deaf Sports Australia offers a workshop to help mainstream sporting organisations improve their inclusion practices. In addition, Vicdeaf offers sports-specific Auslan classes.

People with an intellectual disability

People with an intellectual disability can participate in specialised sports either in a team or focusing on individual ability. It’s a great way to have fun and get a sense of achievement. Support workers are often involved to help participants learn new skills and achieve new sporting goals, with group sports modified to make the rules and gameplay more accessible.

Life Stream Foundation provides opportunities for people with an intellectual disability to participate in sport and recreation.

If you’re developing an NDIS plan, you can think about what type of exercise you’d like to do and what support you’ll need to get there. Your funding might cover training, transport, equipment, a coach or a support worker to help you. Through Mable, you can find and hire a support worker who is just as keen on sport as you are. Why not Post a Job now?

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