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Inclusive sport – means sport for all

For students at Adelaide East Education Centre, discovering new sports has been a life changing experience.

Located in Paradise, South Australia, the small special school has engaged in a variety of Sporting Schools activities, delivered by qualified coaches who have tailored their programs to meet the students' needs and accessibility requirements.

Teacher Jenny Bonnett is thrilled the students can enjoy all the benefits of sport, while developing skills and having fun.

‘Our students are mostly on the Autism spectrum and have learning and social interaction difficulties, so they may find it hard to join in as a team member,’ Jenny said.

‘Many have not been exposed to a lot of different sports, so this program gives them the social experiences missing in their lives.

‘Every coach that has come to the school has developed a fantastic rapport with the students, resulting in enjoyment, active participation and amazing results.

‘The state sporting bodies of all the sports we have had coaching in, have been extremely helpful and reliable in the acquisition of coaches for us.

‘Chris Okely, the cricket coach, is fantastic. As a person with cerebral palsy, he understands the students' physical limitations and works around them by simplifying the actions of batting, bowling and catching etc.

‘I truly believe that everybody in our community should have access to the physical and social benefits of sport. To be able to provide some of these benefits to the children and see how far their skills have developed has been inspiring,’ coach Okely said.

‘Students who initially could not connect foot with ball are now kicking small distances. To kick a footy or hit a cricket ball (and connect) is a big achievement for some of our students,’ Jenny explained.

‘Since 2019, we have enjoyed the new experience of 8 sports – AFL, table tennis, basketball, cricket, golf, soccer, badminton and touch football. Along with the coaching, we have been able to purchase equipment to continue offering these sports to our students.

‘Thanks to Sporting Schools, the time spent dedicated to sport has tripled over the past three years.

‘At present, the coaches focus on enjoyment and activity. These programs are helping to introduce students to team sport and developing their skills. If we repeat sports enough times, we hope that the skills will continue to develop, enabling students to build the confidence to join local clubs,’ Jenny said. 

Learn more about Sporting Schools and how to Find a Club near you on the Sport Australia website.

Have any questions about Sporting Schools?

Phone: 1300 785 707
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