Sport for inclusion – making it happen

Footballers on the field from the Mosaic Metros Futsal Club.Inclusion isn’t just about people with disability or impairments. It means everyone. Inclusion should also embrace the full diversity of being human. Refugees and migrants are a case in point. Sport is embedded in Australian culture, but it also has a common language. So sport is a good way to start the inclusion process. But where to begin? Some good ideas come by way of a new video series – Inclusion in Action. 

The video below is from the perspective of participants, their coaches, and program organisers. It features the Mosaic Metros Futsal Club telling us the story of how they started and what they have achieved. One participants says how being part of the team makes him feel welcome. The team manager explains how members of an enthno-specific team can move onto integrating into other teams. He also says not to rush the process.

 

Inclusive art, tourism, sport and recreation report

An assistance dog leans down towards a swimmer in the water at the side of the pool. Inclusive art, sport and recreation.
Assistance animals are a strategy for inclusion.

What’s involved in making arts, tourism, sport and recreation more inclusive? It’s more than just creating accessible venues and destinations. It requires a broad view of the issues and ways to implement inclusive practice. Policies with action plans to overcome attitudinal and systemic barriers are a start.

A report for the Victorian Government identifies the issues and provides recommendations in relation to these areas of activity. The report was underpinned by three principles. Inclusive policy:

      1. occurs within an inclusive model framework
      2. works best if implemented as a whole-of-government initiative
      3. seeks to build healthy communities by providing opportunities for arts, tourism, sport and recreation being provided for all people. 

Among the conclusions, this model can be an agent of social change. That is, they can show the way for other sectors to be inclusive. Barriers to inclusion were identified as institutional, physical, economic and attitudinal. Being inclusive at the planning stage of any project, activity or service is also a way forward.

Recommendations include the need for institutional policies on inclusion, accurate information for people with disability, and targeted intervention strategies to address barriers to inclusion. There’s more in the report.

A comprehensive report with key recommendations linked to conclusions. Although published in 2012, many recommendations are still pending across Australia. The title of the report is, Inclusive Arts, Tourism, Sport and Recreation for People with a Disability: Ways Forward Report. Deakin University carried out the research.  

A related publication by Simon Darcy looks at barriers to participation in sport. It can be downloaded from ResearchGate.

Inclusive leisure facilities: A design guide

Front cover of Designing for Inclusivity. Designing for inclusive leisure facilities.
Front cover of guide

A design guide for inclusive leisure facilities is an excellent resource for designers, policy makers and municipal authorities. Lots of drawings and graphics provide design guidance and highlight the key points. Using the principles of universal design means that it is not a standardised design template.

Privacy and comfort for all users is one of the key elements. Mixed gender spaces for caregivers and parents with young children are also important. Local cultural customs also need to be considered. The classic gender segregation of space has already evolved into more universal space because of disability legislation. 

An assistance dog leans down towards a swimmer in the water at the side of the pool. Designing inclusive leisure facilities. The guide addresses confusion over language and terminology, use of space and general design principles. The title of the guide is, Designing for Inclusivity: Strategies for Universal Washrooms and Change Rooms in Community and Recreation Facilities. It covers: inclusivity for families, people with disability, transgender and non-binary people, privacy, increased efficiency and forward thinking design. The principles are:

1.  Strive for inclusivity and access for all
2. Use openness to enhance safety through activity and shared monitoring
3. Create privacy where most needed to enhance comfort
4. Welcome everyone with signage that emphasizes function and is clear, inclusive, and positive
5. Ensure supportive staff operations and communications

Universally designed leisure facilities

A walkway entrance at a universally designed leisure facility has a big green sign that has icons showing lots of different user groups. Universally designed leisure facilities.What does washroom and change room design have to do with social justice? Darryl Condon answers this question in a Pools and Leisure Magazine article. He has a good grasp of all the relevant design issues across the diversity and inclusion spectrum for universally designed leisure facilities.

The advice and information is explained using a universal design approach, which makes it relevant to other public facilities. Condon lists five design strategies that designers can take away. At the end of the article he advises that with any new facility, a diverse group of users should be consulted. A very thoughtful article in this international magazine published via issuu. It has other articles of interest to designers and architects.

The article, Designing for Inclusivity: Strategies for universal washrooms and change rooms in community sport and recreation facilities, is on page 48. Pictures and graphics are a nice addition.

The article begins: “What does washroom and change room design have to do with social justice? A great deal. As architects, we must consider the social impact resulting from all aspects of our work. Universal washrooms and change rooms are increasingly crucial in the design of recreation and sport facilities and are one element in our approach to more impactful design”.

This article is also on Linked In and probably easier to read than the issuu version. The picture is from the Linked In version. The social inclusion aspect is also discussed by Katherine Webber in Toilets, Taboos and Design Principles.  

 

Universally designed leisure facilities

A walkway entrance at a universally designed leisure facility has a big green sign that has icons showing lots of different user groups. Universally designed leisure facilities.What does washroom and change room design have to do with social justice? Darryl Condon answers this question in a Pools and Leisure Magazine article. He has a good grasp of all the relevant design issues across the diversity and inclusion spectrum for universally designed leisure facilities.

The advice and information is explained using a universal design approach, which makes it relevant to other public facilities. Condon lists five design strategies that designers can take away. At the end of the article he advises that with any new facility, a diverse group of users should be consulted. A very thoughtful article in this international magazine published via issuu. It has other articles of interest to designers and architects.

The article, Designing for Inclusivity: Strategies for universal washrooms and change rooms in community sport and recreation facilities, is on page 48. Pictures and graphics are a nice addition.

The article begins: “What does washroom and change room design have to do with social justice? A great deal. As architects, we must consider the social impact resulting from all aspects of our work. Universal washrooms and change rooms are increasingly crucial in the design of recreation and sport facilities and are one element in our approach to more impactful design”.

This article is also on Linked In and probably easier to read than the issuu version. The picture is from the Linked In version. The social inclusion aspect is also discussed by Katherine Webber in Toilets, Taboos and Design Principles.  

Theme park rides: thrills, spills and inclusion

A brightly coloured horse on a carousel ride in a theme park. Theme park rides often have rules about who can ride based on body size, health conditions and ability. But these rules are sometimes needlessly excluding. Ride manufacturers produce a manual for the park owners with very broad references to disability. These rules are set with the idea of protecting riders. But are these needed?  With enough information most people would self select their theme park rides.

The accident rates for ride attractions and found that obesity, not usually mentioned in the rules, is responsible for more accidents than those for people with disability. The analysis found that restrictive criteria exclude people with disabilities broadly, while permitting other groups to self-determine their participation. Publicly available injury data do not provide evidence to justify the extent of mandatory exclusion.

Using information from 100 amusement ride manufacturers’ manuals, an article reports on eligibility criteria and safety for people with disability, and where disability is reported in an injury. The conclusion is that people with disability are excluded more often than is warranted. “There is no clear evidence that people with disabilities are at undue risk when permitted to self-select”. However, they will need appropriate information so they can make the right decision.

The title of the paper is, Disability and participation in amusement attractions, by Kathryn Woodcock. 

Camp Manyung is accessible for just about everyone. Check it out. Plenty of thrills there!

 

Being a Good Sport: Including Everyone

Picture of young women on a netball court. Being a good sport.Australians come together for sport no matter who they are or where they’re from. That’s why it’s important to keep sport as inclusive as possible. While there is a need for specialised sports facilities for para-athletes, community sporting groups and clubs need to adapt to providing sporting activities for everyone.

Introducing young people to sport and keeping them involved can have long term positive effects. However, young people with disability are involved to a lesser extent. While there are some specialised programs for children and young people, this may not be the way of the future.

Susanna Geidne and Kajsa Jerlinder tackle this issue in the Sport Science Review journal.  After a systematic search of peer-reviewed articles, they conclude,

“We must go from adapting physical activity for disabled persons to adapting physical activity for all people, because the diversity of people’s reasons for doing sports, their differing backgrounds and their uniqueness all demand it. Such an approach will result in more people doing sports for longer in life, which will benefit everyone, both individually and at the societal level.”

The title of the article is, “How sports clubs include children and adolescents with disabilities in their activities. A systematic search of peer-reviewed articles”.

Sport and Recreation Victoria are doing great work on inclusion and have produced a useful handbook, Design for Everyone Guide

Physical Access and Sport

Front cover of the guide, Access for all about physical access and sport.An accessible and inclusive sports club sometimes requires a few physical adjustments to buildings. More than anything it needs some forward planning and continuing commitment. Access for All: Opening Doors is a guide aimed at anyone involved in running or working in a sports club. However, this guide for physical access and sport is useful for any organisation. 

For example, there is information on paths of travel and ramps, signage and colour contrast, and types of doors. Other information is specific to entertainment venues such as spectator viewing areas and acoustics. Doors receive detailed information and the difficulties with revolving doors. 

The resource covers the main areas of physical access and leads on to other information. It’s down to the detail such as approaches to the building, information and signage, and getting around the facilities. 

The Centre for Accessible Environments website has more  free publications.

Kicking goals for sport

Two young men each with one leg and using crutches, compete for the football on the football field. Kicking UD Goals in Sport. Playing and watching sport is a major cultural activity in Australia. Joining a sports club or being part of the fan group brings a sense of belonging. Participating in sport has physical and mental health benefits. Kate Anderson and Susan Balandin write about this important topic in “Kicking a Goal for Inclusion in Sports Clubs and Stadia”. The authors take a universal design approach to solutions. 

Their book chapter explains how sports providers can promote inclusion for people with disability. Taking a universal design approach they discuss three key areas: spectatorship, membership and employment. You can get institutional access via Springerlink, or you can access through ResearchGate

From the abstract

Sports participation and fandom play an important role in the lives of many Australians, including people with disability. Participating in sport offers valuable benefits for physical and mental well-being and can enhance a person’s sense of belonging. 

In addition to playing sport, people with disability have a right to be included in mainstream spectatorship and fandom activities. Despite this, many sports clubs fall short and give little thought to the inclusion of people with disability as staff or volunteers.

This chapter covers some of the ways in which sports providers can promote engaging and meaningful community inclusion for people with disability. We adopt a universal design perspective to showcase practical inclusion opportunities for people with disability across three key participation domains in the sporting arena: spectatorship, membership, and employment. 

Universal Design – Sport and Recreation Facilities

Evan WilkinsonEvan Wilkinson outlines the process that Sport and Recreation Victoria went through to bring about a better understanding of the principles of universal design.

One of his key arguments is that if universal design principles are considered at the outset, the cost implications are low. However, if left until later in the design and construction process, the cost of ‘adding on’ access features is far more costly. Download the PDF of the PowerPoint Slideshow (5.5 MB) for more on UD and sport and recreation facilities.

Sport and Recreation Victoria have also launched their Design for Everyone Guide. The link takes you to the website that also has a very useful video on universal design shown below.

Camp Manyung and universal design

a person in a wheelchair is on the flying fox highlighting universal design at Camp Manyung.
Cloudrider on zipline

Camp Manyung in Victoria is leading the way by universally designing everything. The excellent video below shows how the application of universal design principles throughout the design of the camp facilities bring about the inclusiveness that is the aim of universal design. Universal design principles are also applied to camp activities, and staff attitudes and communication. Find out more about universal design at Camp Manyung.

The camp is run by YMCA on behalf of Sport and Recreation Victoria that also has a Design for Everyone Guide. The video below explains more about Camp Manyung. 

There is no legislation within Australia to guide the design of sporting or leisure activities that enable participation by everyone at a level that suits them. Sport and Recreation Victoria have embraced the principles of universal design to make all their camps and activities inclusive. The accessible high ropes course shows that anything is possible.

Integrating universal design into camp activities

Sport and Recreation Victoria and YMCA want to increase awareness and applicability of universal design in residential camps. The image shows how any one can enjoy the flying fox on the “Skyrider”.  They have produced a report, Universal Design: Integrating the Principles into Camp Activities. The report outlines ways in which environments, activities and programs within residential camps can be used by everyone. It shows how to apply universal design to all aspects of camp activities.

Universal Design: Camps and Consultation 

What are the best practice methods for consulting with users to implement universal design? image shows people putting block of wood together to create a towerProbably there is no one-size fits all. The literature review highlights projects that attempted to achieve universal design or user-centred design by consulting with users throughout the design process.

The case study techniques included the full participation of users in the design process, the use of hidden cameras, observation, focus groups, scaled cardboard models and 3-D virtual environments. Some important considerations for consulting with users are raised in the literature. The title of the review is Universal Design: Camps & Consultation.

Communicating at Camp Manyung

We all like to get our message across. Communication access is just as important as physical access. So what are the communication barriers that some people face? It might be reading, understanding spoken language or having difficulties speaking. So the way that signs and written communication are designed are as important as well-trained staff. 

Camp Manyung has increased their level of inclusiveness by gaining communication accreditation from SCOPE. Reception staff and activity staff can now communicate with everyone throughout the camp experience. Staff wear the international communication symbol so that they are easily recognised by visitors. SCOPE has videos that show how a person trained in communication access uses their skills. 

 

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