Disability can affect anyone in the community.
It can be caused by disease, illness, hereditary conditions, or accident/injury and may include individuals with physical, sensory, intellectual, psychiatric and/or other health related disabilities. Approximately 1 in 6 (18%, or 4.4 million) people in Australia have disability.
People with disability receive the same physical, mental and social benefits from participating in sport and physical activity as any other participant. However, the most recent results from AusPlay data show that adults who have disability participate in sport or physical activity less than adults who don't.
Sometimes, a person’s disability isn’t the major reason for not participating in sport. Some of the most common barriers reported include costs, transportation, knowledge or awareness and the lack of accessibility. An increased level of support may be needed for people with disability to be meaningfully included.
Best practice examples
NORTHERN TERRITORY NETBALL – DRAGONFLIES NETBALL TEAM
The Dragonflies Netball team is the first representative netball team for women with intellectual disability. They became the first Northern Territory team to compete in the National Netball championships for women with intellectual disability. The formation of the team provides participants with opportunities to develop skills in a safe and welcoming environment, promoting the development of different life skills such as positive behaviour and leadership. Participants actively take these skills back into their communities and are role models to their peers.
SOFTBALL AUSTRALIA – SOCIAL WHEELCHAIR SOFTBALL
Australia’s first social wheelchair softball competition was launched in 2019 by Softball Australia. The inclusive competition provides a chance for people with disability to partake in softball with able-bodied participants on an equal basis. All ages, genders and abilities play seated in a wheelchair. The sport focuses on accessibility, inclusion and creating social connections with people of all ages and abilities.