Taking a person-centered approach to providing sporting opportunities is an effective way to understand the needs – and abilities – of individuals. Empowering the voice of people with disability can have a profound impact on your sport. It helps to break down stereotypes, change perceptions and educate administrators, volunteers, coaches and officials about what they should do.
Here some tips for how your organisation can better understand potential participants, including people with disabilities which you may be interested in learning more about.
- Consult people with disability. It is important that you talk to people and ask them about they can do, and what they need. In doing so, you strengthen your own ability to offer products, services and facilities that meet their needs.
- Run a small workshop. Doing this is not as hard as you might think and you don’t need to be a marketing or advertising expert! Find the people you want to know more about, think carefully about the questions you want to ask, get people into a room and ask the questions. A useful resource to use when doing this is the How to Consult with People with disability.
- Promote stories. A great way to empower the voice of people with disability is to promote the stories of participants in your sport. This might include successful athletes, local champions or simply people participating in sport for the health and enjoyment benefits. A good example of this can be heard in a podcast by Vicsport which explores interesting the stories of two people sharing their stories of participating in sport with a disability.
There are also lots of great resources available which provide research and statistics about people with disability:
- Disability, Ageing and Carers Australia: Summary of Findings, 2015 - ABS
- Australian Sport Commission - AusPlay
- National Disability Services
- Department of Health and Human Services – Office for Disability