What is SportEd?
SportEd allows children to develop the skills needed to join in all types of active groups such as team sports, dance, swimming and ball sports. The program doesn’t teach the individual sports (that is what coaches and teaches do). Rather it is about learning the early skills that support a child to be ready to participate in active play.
What happens at SportEd?
When families come to SportEd, they are given the opportunity to encourage their child to participate in a variety of planned activities. Families will then be able help their child practice these skills at home and on outings to places such as the park. These skills can include:
- following directions
- sharing equipment
- taking turns
- ball handling
The SportEd program aims to help families to:
- Teach children the skills needed to feel more confident in the school playground
- Participate in family and community sporting groups and clubs
- Use their locals parks and playgrounds
- Have the confidence to access and to be included in community sporting activities
- Feel supported to transition to new environments and community settings
Who runs SportEd?
EarlyEd’s SportEd services are staffed by experienced specialist early intervention staff and coaches. Through individual goal setting and weekly small group sport sessions, children will experience supported sporting activities.
Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists will help parents and coaches start the children with physical activity at a level they can manage and will gradually increase the physical demands. If required the therapists can provide families with any adapted equipment.
Speech Pathologists can advise staff and families on how to help a child understand instructions so they can cope with training and team participation. Social skills and receptive language skills are a large part of the SportEd program, By using visuals and other resources to support the child’s learning, staff can teach parents and coaches how to adapt and develop resources that can make the sport experience a success.
Once children have learnt basic team and sporting skills, staff will be encouraging families to join in local sporting activities in the community. The EarlyEd staff can help to prepare the family and the community sporting group with the knowledge of the best ways to include your child in the new community setting.
Ageing Disability and Home Care:
“The best outcomes for children and young people with a disability are obtained where access to everyday settings is supported appropriately by specialist services.”
When can SportEd help?
Sometimes a child may need support to get onto the oval or to stay with the team before he/she can learn how to kick a ball or to follow the rules. Many children with disabilities can’t access sporting groups/classes or community spaces such as parks for the following reasons:
- The equipment is unsuitable as children with special needs might require specialised equipment or help to use it
- Children can’t cope with the pace of an activity
- The venue is unsuitable such as no fencing, bright lighting or too noisy
- The coaches/teachers and parents don’t know how to adapt the program
- Children might be anxious or exhibit challenging behaviours
- The group may be too large, noisy or busy which is distressing or distracting and gives less opportunity for individualised instruction and support
- Children are uninterested and need specific resources that will motivate participation
- Parents feel that their child will not cope in the situation
Why go to SportEd?
The SportEd program:
- supports children to have the skills required to join in sports
- prepares children to join in mainstream groups
- helps families to know how to start in mainstream groups/clubs/classes
- assists families to encourage and support their child in active play with them
- supports teachers/coaches to help a child to successfully participate in sporting activities
SportEd is a way to encourage your child to learn skills that will help them to participate in active play with their family and their friends. Often families struggle to have access to mainstream sporting groups, they feel like they just don’t fit in. However, we know families want their child with a disability to have the same opportunities as other children and to participate in mainstream sporting settings.
Successful inclusion requires strategies to be put in place before a child actually starts any sporting program. Successful participation needs to start early.
Starting early in life:
- lays the foundation for young children to be active
- develops children’s interest and confidence in their own sporting abilities
- creates a positive attitude towards sport
- develops the likelihood of children continuing to be involved in sport in the future
SportEd encourages the whole family to be active, promoting healthy lifestyles and wellbeing.