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Physical activity can play a key role in breaking down disability barriers

Physical activity can play a key role in breaking down disability barriers
December 3, 2017

Coinciding with International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD), held on 3rd December each year, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) is reminding the Australian public of the role exercise and sports science professionals can play in helping to remove barriers for people with disability.

With IDPwD’s overarching focus being on how society can strive for inclusivity through the removal of physical, technological and attitudinal barriers for people with disability, ESSA Chief Executive Anita Hobson-Powell states “statistics show that 18.5% of the population have a disability, which is approximately 4.2 million people.

“With such a majority of Australians living with a disability, the importance of inclusion is significant, and breaking down these barriers where possible is vital.

“A key way to break down some of these barriers can be through participation in sport and physical activity. Australians love their sport, irrespective of their health, with the Australian Sports Commission reporting that people with a disability are just as keen to participate even though they may experience limitations.

“In 2010, 68% of people with a disability participated in sport, however a significant barrier that was met for people with disability, hindering their participation, was their co-morbidities e.g. obesity, CAD, diabetes, mental well-being/health etc.

“Other barriers discouraging disabled people from being involved in physical activity include access to ramp/lift, appropriate equipment, support staff and communication barriers.

“Exercise and sports science professionals, such as Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEP), Accredited Exercise Scientists (AES) and Accredited Sports Scientists (ASpS), are suitably qualified to work at a community level to help overcome these barriers and strengthen the resilience of people with disability.”

ESSA accredited professionals can provide patient-centred care to remove that physical barrier and society’s attitudinal barriers, by encouraging physical activity that is right for the individual person.

Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Beth Sheehan, adds “traditional versions of sport also don’t have to be the main focus.

“There are varying levels of disabilities that require input from a wide range of health and fitness professionals. For consumers requiring clinical input, AEPs can assist by providing services under the NDIS and collaborating with a multidisciplinary team to further enhance activities of daily living and functional tasks.

“For athletes who are requiring higher level strength and training and sport specific tasks, an AES and ASpS are equipped to support the sport specific training required and can collaborate with the athletes medical team.”

Fundamentally, people with a disability are entitled to equal access of care and community activities that can be facilitated by ESSA professionals, and there is a wide range of organisations providing resources and funding support for disability and physical activity or sport:

• Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association Queensland 
• Inclusive Kids - Queensland 
• The Access for All Abilities Program - Victoria 
• Australian Sports Foundation 
• Exercise Right - Exercise right for your disability blog 
• Roackability - Rock Climbing for Young People with a Disability 
• Disability Sports Australia 
• Australian Disability Sport 
• Disability Sport & Recreation 
• Adaptive Surfers of Australia (ASA) 
• Riding for the Disabled 
• Sport Inclusion Australia

For more information on International Day of People with Disability go to www.idpwd.com.au 

17th November 2017 - NEW AUSPLAY FIGURES SHOW FOOTBALL LEADS SPORT PARTICIPATION RATES IN AUSTRALIA 

24th May 2017 - ESSA REMINDER ON THE IMPORTANCE OF EXERCISING FOR A HEALTHY HEART

22nd May 2017 - STUDY SHOWS EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGISTS GREATLY ASSIST PEOPLE WITH CHRONIC DISEASE 

8th February 2017 - ESSA CONCERN OVER FALLING FITNESS LEVELS AMONG AUSTRALIAN CHILDREN

8th December 2016 - LANDMARK STUDY FINDS SPORT STRUGGLING TO KEEP YOUTH ENGAGED 

30th November 2016 - NEW GUIDE HELPS COUNCILS MEET NATIONAL DISABILITY STRATEGY OBLIGATIONS

7th September 2016 - REPORT IDENTIFIES BARRIERS TO DISABLED AUSTRALIANS PARTICIPATING IN SPORT

10th July 2016 - AUSTRALIA TO HOST 2018 IWRF WHEELCHAIR RUGBY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

24th November 2015 - AUSTRALIAN LANDMARKS TO LIGHT UP FOR INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITY


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