Kymberly Martin
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New online tool for more inclusive sport

A new online tool for providing sporting groups with more accessible and inclusive programs and services for people with disabilities has been launched by La Trobe University.

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The Disability Resource gives training and support for sporting and recreation organisations to better involve and engage people with a disability. Resources include advice on activities and program delivery, disability awareness and accessibility training.

La Trobe Sport Management lecturer Dr Pam Kappelides said many people with disabilities faced challenges accessing sport facilities that other members of the community took for granted.

“The Disability Resource is a great way for sport and recreation organisations to become more inclusive of the wider community and it will be a lot easier to find programs or activities adapted for people with disabilities.  We expect this will boost participation in sport and recreational activities and develop a sense of belonging to their community,” she said. Also, by having the resources online it can be regularly updated with new materials.

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Paralympic medallist and La Trobe PhD graduate Dr Hannah Macdougall helped develop the materials and knows first-hand how the power of sport can change lives.

“Sport has always been a major part of my life. I transitioned from swimming to cycling in 2010 and I love it. Cycling is the closest I get to freedom and to flying.” (image above).

The Disability Resource will make it easier for people with disabilities to find the sport best for them, she said. “If you get disheartened in the first sport you try, then try something else, and remember to have fun, because that’s why we do it.”

Approximately 18.5 per cent of the population had a disability in 2016 and 60 per cent did not participate in sport, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The resource was developed with input from disability groups and funding from Sport and Recreation Victoria.

The materials can be accessed online at http://disability-resource.org.au/