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The importance of sport for children with disabilities – and the lengths to which their parents go to access it


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Getting physical activity and sport are not equal. Children and young people with disabilities are less likely to engage in physical activity and sports, as is the case Big barriers to share them.

Parents often play a vital role in helping their children get involved in sports. in Our research, we spoke to 11 parents of children and young people aged 12-25 who were competing at UK or international paragliding level. We wanted to understand their experience of supporting their children’s participation in sports and parachute trails. Their children were competitive in a range of parachute sports, including wheelchair tennis, athletics, and swimming.

For most parents, their children’s sense of social belonging was their biggest concern. This has led them to look for opportunities for their children to find social connection with others through sports.

All parents in our study had children who attended regular schools. School is often one of the most important opportunities for children to develop social relationships. But our parents told us that for their children, school was often lonely. Most parents felt that the school did little for their children in developing meaningful social relationships. One parent told us:

“He’s very emotionally volatile, and it comes down to feeling socially isolated and missing out on things. I don’t think it was a particularly positive experience, school.”

Parents we spoke to did not feel that physical education at school provided their children with an equal space to participate in sports and physical activity. They had to look elsewhere to find social and confidence-building opportunities for their children, as well as for the opportunity to participate in more rewarding sporting activities.

appropriate opportunities

For some parents, paragliding opportunities for their children have been difficult to access and can be very expensive. One parent told us that for years, they took a four-hour round trip every week to a city across the country so their son could play wheelchair basketball.

One of the reasons children with disabilities are less active than their non-disabled peers is a lack of it local opportunities– Weak references to local opportunities that were available.

For the parents we spoke to, many of the opportunities that led to their children’s participation and success in sports began through disability-specific organizations, such as Midget Sports Associationwhich provides a platform for children with disabilities to experience sports.

However, our research has shown that the paths to aerobics are difficult for parents to navigate. Parents reported spending hours doing research on the Internet to find suitable opportunities for their children to participate in sports.

The identification of talent was often through pure chance. For some of our parents, others noticed their children’s talent when they attended disability events, and those people were then able to direct them to the appropriate coaches or clubs. Parents felt that better marking of disability athletic opportunities was needed.

Identity building

Despite these challenges, the parents felt that their effort and commitment were necessary and worth it. One parent told us:

“You don’t have a choice, there aren’t any other options. That’s why you have to have this commitment.”

The parents we spoke to felt that getting their children involved in a game of parachute was one of the best things they could do for their children. They told us how getting involved in parachuting helped their children make friends, support the development of their identity as a disabled person, and build confidence and independence.

“Without this sport, she wouldn’t be who she is, it’s her social life…it’s everything.”

For some children, participating in parachutes also improved their social standing in school with their non-disabled peers. This helped parents feel less anxious about their children’s future. One parent told us:

“It’s helped with his social confidence, his friendships, physically his upper body is so strong now that you know that means he can be more independent on a practical level. So, I’m less worried about him going to college and taking care of himself.”

Parents also benefited from the social support they received from other parents of disabled children. They helped them navigate complex issues, such as figuring out where to apply for financing or a blue parking badge.

Sport can be a powerful resource for children and youth with disabilities, but the lack of opportunities or difficulty in accessing existing opportunities can prevent them from participating. These barriers need to be addressed so more children can benefit from participating in sport whether at school, in the community or at an elite level.

Some national governing bodies for sport already offer excellent opportunities for young people with disabilities, such as Hockey FlyersHockey clubs where people with and without disabilities of all ages play together. If youth sports programs at all levels are consulted and work with young people with disabilities and their parents, support networks can be developed that reflect the complexity of their lives.

Introduction to the conversation

This article has been republished from Conversation Under Creative Commons Licence. Read the The original article.Conversation

the quote: The Importance of Sport for Children with Disabilities–and the Lengths Their Parents Go to Get There (2023, April 5) Retrieved April 5, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-04-importance-sport-children-disability-and-lengths .html

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