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Disibility Inclusion objectives

Learning Objectives

This activity aims to:

  • Increase understanding about rights and responsibilities under disability discrimination laws.
  • Dispel myths and stereotypes about this inclusion of people with disability in sport.
  • Improve knowledge about inclusive practices to promote the participation of people with disability in sport.

Disability Inclusion

21 February 2012
Published In:

Lesson Overview

Simon's participation prompts the club to consider the issue of disability in sport.

Start Lesson

Setting the scene...

Administrators are often unsure of what to do when a child with disability wants to join their club.

Parents often feel anxious, fearing that their child may not be accepted or given a fair go.

The following scenario explores issues that can arise when including a child with disability in sport. As you read through the material think about what you would do in this situation. If you would like more information click on the resources menu item at the top of the page.

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Scene 1: Registration Day

It's club registration day and Simon and his friend, Johnny, arrive with their mothers.

Gayle is on the registration desk and notices that Simon appears to have a disability. She makes a note for the committee on the registration form as she thinks this will impact on his participation.

What should the committee do?

disability-inclusion-s1

A) Ring Simon's parents and suggest he go to a disability sports program.

This is not recommended. It assumes that because he has a disability Simon can't play mainstream sport and it gives the message that he is unwelcome at this club.

This would be seen as discrimination on the basis of disability.

Resources:

Australian Sports Commission - Working with parents

Australian Sports Commission - Disability discrimination information sheet

Australian Sports Commission - Dispelling myths & stereotypes

Australian Sports Commission - Golden rule of inclusion

Try a different reponse

B) Ring Simon's parents to discuss his disability.

This is not recommended. It's important to seek further information but this could happen informally at the trials.

The issue is not 'the disability' but rather how the sport may need to modify the event to minimise any disadvantage faced by Simon. The officials need to see Simon in the trials before making assumptions about his ability.

To ring the parents at this stage would suggest that there is an issue with Simon's disability and the parents may become defensive.

Resources:

Australian Sports Commission - Working with parents

Australian Sports Commission - Getting young people involved

Australian Sports Commission - Dispelling myths & stereotypes

Australian Sports Commission - Golden rule of inclusion

Try a different reponse

C) Take no action.

It gives Simon the chance to demonstrate his abilities in the trials along with the other children. The administrators and coaches can observe him performing the sport and determine any disadvantages that Simon may face.

This will enable an informed discussion about possible modifications that may be required, for example modifications to rules, equipment or environments. It's possible that only minor modifications will be required to minimise any disadvantage.

This approach encourages open communication so that those concerned can then make an informed decision. Any suggested modifications should be discussed and agreed with Simon and his parents.

Resources:

Australian Sports Commission - Working with parents

Australian Sports Commission - Getting young people involved

Australian Sports Commission - Dispelling myths & stereotypes

Australian Sports Commission - Golden rule of inclusion

Continue to Scene 2

Scene 2: At the Trials

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It's Saturday, the trials are underway and the children are participating in activities and games. They are being assessed on their skills and abilities and it becomes apparent that Simon cannot keep up.

Whay should you do?

A) Put Simon in a team with his mate Johnny.

Playing with friends is often a reason to play, but should not be the sole reason for team selection. It may provide Simon with a support network, but may impact on other team members' ability to play the game at their level. This is against the 'golden rule of inclusion'.

Clubs can provide many ways for members to be involved with friends besides playing in the same team, for example, social activities, training sessions and support roles on match day.

Resources:

Australian Sports Commission - Inclusion spectrum

Australian Sports Commission - Dispelling myths & stereotypes

Australian Sports Commission - Golden rule of inclusion

Try a different reponse

B) Put Simon in a team based on his ability, even if that means he plays in a younger age group.

This is the ideal option as team selection is normally based on a person's skill and ability to play the game. To place Simon in a team may require him playing:

  • in a lower age group
  • in a certain position
  • only part of the game.

It may also require some modification to the game or equipment.

Every child is an individual and it is important to find an outcome that meets the child's needs and is manageable for the coach and club. Generally, the best option for all children is to place them in the appropriate age group.

However, after considering all the relevant factors to do with the sport, the coach and club may decide that it is best to place him in a lower age group.

The key issue is that this decision is not based on assumptions about Simon's impairment, but on matching his ability and the requirements of the sport.

Resources:

Australian Sports Commission - Inclusion spectrum

Australian Sports Commission - Dispelling myths & stereotypes

Australian Sports Commission - Golden rule of inclusion

Continue to Scene 3

C) Ask Simon to come out to training until his skills develop. In the meantime, use him as the team scorer on match day.

This may be an interim measure if Simon and his parents see it as an opportunity to develop his skills and transition into the team. It should only be used if it is an accepted practice for all children needing skill development rather than something specific for Simon.

The key question is this:

Is this what Simon wants or is it just an easy option for the team?

The situation should be regularly reviewed, otherwise the season may pass without Simon being seriously considered for the team.

Resources:

Australian Sports Commission - Inclusion spectrum

Australian Sports Commission - Dispelling myths & stereotypes

Australian Sports Commission - Golden rule of inclusion

Try a different reponse

D) Suggest to Simon's parents that he go to a disability sports program.

It is not true that people with disability need to go to disability sports programs. It is a stereotype that does not apply in all cases. Making decisions based on a stereotype is not helpful or fair and could be seen as discrimination.

Simon has the right to choose where he goes to access sport. He may decide to play in a wide range of sports programs.

In these situations focus on the person and their interests and abilities not just the disability. Sports administrators can help by adopting a positive and encouraging attitude and looking for modifications that will allow people with disabilities to participate. Options will depend on the nature of sport, the person's level of ability and the level of skill required to play. Clubs are expected to make these modifications to the best of their ability.

Resources:

Australian Sports Commission - Inclusion spectrum

Australian Sports Commission - Dispelling myths & stereotypes

Australian Sports Commission - Golden rule of inclusion

Try a different reponse

Scene 3: Prior to Season

disability-inclusion-s4

Simon has been selected in a team. The administrator and coach are discussing his involvement. The coach says, "Do I have to play him all the time?"

What should the administrator recommend?

A) Simon plays as much as the rest of the team.

This is a positive option for both Simon and the club and needs to be reinforced through strong leadership from the coach and the other parents.

The outcome will depend on the club's approach if it is competitive, then selection will be purely on merit and in the best interests of the team and the club. If the priority is participation then it is reasonable for the club to play Simon as much as the rest of the team.

The important point is that decisions are based on the approach of the club not Simon's disability. If Simon is selected he has the right to play. The coach should talk to the players about the importance of fun, sport and good sportsmanship. The club administration should take responsibility too and look at how to develop a culture that is friendly and welcoming to all regardless of ability.

Resources:

Australian Sports Commission - Coaching children

Australian Sports Commission - What is inclusive coaching?

Australian Sports Commission - Junior code of behaviour

Australian Sports Commission - Junior Sports Framework

Continue to Scene 4

B) Simon plays at least a little time each week.

This is not recommended. If he is selected then Simon has the same right to play. If he plays for less time than others in the team, this would need to be discussed with Simon and his parents.

Resources:

Australian Sports Commission - Coaching children

Australian Sports Commission - What is inclusive coaching?

Australian Sports Commission - Junior code of behaviour

Australian Sports Commission - Junior Sports Framework

Try a different reponse

C) Simon plays when the team is short but is also given another role e.g. team scorer.

This is not recommended. It tells Simon he is not good enough and reinforces the stereotype that people with a disability can't or don't play in a team, they just help out. It also indicates that the club is not open to inclusive practices.

The club may find communicating this approach to parents of children with a disability very difficult and could get complaints.

Resources:

Australian Sports Commission - Coaching children

Australian Sports Commission - What is inclusive coaching?

Australian Sports Commission - Junior code of behaviour

Australian Sports Commission - Junior Sports Framework

Try a different reponse

Scene 4: Someone Complains

disability-inclusion-s4

The season progresses well until it gets close to the finals. It's an important game and the scores are close.

At half-time Bob, one of the parents, approaches the coach and says, "I hope you're not going to put Simon on in the second half like you have all season, because we really need to win this game".

What should the coach say?

A) "I'll put him on and see how he goes."

This is not the preferred option.

It is important that Simon takes the field and is substituted at appropriate times for him and for the team. He should be treated like other team members; he should not be given game time as an act of tokenism, and should not be unfairly held back. It is important that the coach be strong in his decisions.

Resources:

Australian Sports Commission - Junior code of behaviour

Australian Sports Commission - Junior Sports Framework

Try a different reponse

B) "I'm the coach Bob, he's playing."

This is not an ideal response - it's confrontational and does not highlight Simon's ability.

The coach is not giving an adequate reason for the decision. It is better to explain the club's approach and the fact that it is a team game and Simon is an important member of the team.

Resources:

Australian Sports Commission - Junior code of behaviour

Australian Sports Commission - Junior Sports Framework

Try a different reponse

C) "I agree Bob, the team comes first."

This is not recommended as the coach is not showing leadership but is deferring to Bob. Giving Bob this power may encourage him to continue to interfere. Also, the coach is not supporting Simon and not appropriately representing the club's inclusive approach.

Resources:

Australian Sports Commission - Junior code of behaviour

Australian Sports Commission - Junior Sports Framework

Try a different reponse

D) "Bob, we've won some really close games with Simon playing, so he's going on as usual."

This is the preferred option. The coach is supporting best practice by upholding the club's position on inclusion. The coach is also clarifying the situation, giving a reason for the decision and showing strong leadership.

Resources:

Australian Sports Commission - Junior code of behaviour

Australian Sports Commission - Junior Sports Framework

Continue to Scene 5

Scene 5: End of Season Review

disability-inclusion-s5

It has been a good season, but some people have questioned the decision to include Simon in a team.

It's been a learning experience and the club administrators agree that in future they need to be better prepared.

What should the administrators do?

A) Ask for details of disabilities on the registration form.

A positive first step that could provide useful information. However, remember that:

  • disclosure is always at the discretion of the participant
  • all participants should be given the same registration form
  • questions should be asked in a way that elicits the information you need.

Ideally the club should develop an action plan.

The club also needs to understand why some people question the decision to include Simon. If the club is aware of the range of values and attitudes to inclusion it is in a better position to address them and explain its preferred approach.

Resources:

Interview: Craig Scott - Club administrator Goodwood Saints

Australian Sports Commission - Sample registration form

Disability action plans: A guide for non-government organisations

Try a different reponse

B) Get a copy of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

However, this is only part of the solution. While the committee needs to be aware of the Act, it is what they do with this knowledge that is important. Just having a copy of the Act does not solve the issue.

Resources:

Interview: Craig Scott - Club administrator Goodwood Saints

Disability Discrimination Act 1992

Try a different reponse

C) Develop a code of behaviour.

However, this is only part of the solution. A code of behaviour is part of an action plan and allows administrators to promote the club philosophy. It provides a point of reference for all.

Resources:

Australian Sports Commission - Junior code of behaviour

Try a different reponse

D) Develop an action plan.

This is the best option. The committee could assist the club by developing an action plan detailing how it is going to become inclusive of people with a disability. Clear policies and guidelines would inform all members and set the ground rules for behaviour and expectations.

The next step would be to communicate the action plan to all members. Training, education and communication are a vital part of effective club administration.

Resources:

Interview: Craig Scott - Club administrator Goodwood Saints

Disability action plans: A guide for non-government organisations

Continue

Review

Each child is unique and has a range of different needs and abilities. To support children who have a disability it's important that you:

  • provide them with opportunities to demonstrate what they can do
  • consider what modifications the club can make to rules, equipment and the environment that will address the child's needs and be manageable for the coach and the club
  • communicate openly with everyone involved so informed decisions can be made
  • develop an action plan; this involves identifying barriers that may prevent people from disabilities participating in your club's sport and devising ways of overcoming these obstacles
  • promote your club's commitment to access and equity.

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Feedback

You have now completed the scenario, we hope it helped you develop a better understanding of how to deal with these issues if they arise in your club.

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