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Promoting access

In this video, former Paralympians Denise Beckwith and N.G. Kamalawathie discuss the power of sport for people with disabilities.

In this video, Denise and Kamala describe how gaining access to sport opened up other opportunities in their lives.

As Denise explains, people with disabilities who have participated in sport have not only been able to achieve recognition from the wider community but have also been able to then pursue other opportunities they might not have had the chance to pursue otherwise.

In 2008, the West Australian government launched the “Fair Play” Inclusive Sport and Recreation Policy in recognition of the contribution that disabled people make to the local, national and international sports arenas. One of our instructors, Dr Karen Soldatic, was the State-Wide Joint Chair of this Strategic Framework.

This policy works across a range of government departments to ensure that disabled people have access to inclusive sporting facilities and programs, and also have opportunities to participate as athletes, coaches, trainers and club volunteers. The initiative recognises the rights of disabled people to engage with sports, by addressing the range of barriers that prevent access.

The program operates around 6 core values (all of which you have encountered already in this course):

  • inclusion;
  • accessibility;
  • diversity;
  • equity;
  • dignity;
  • and respect.
One of the central values of “Fair Play” is to recognise the different possible roles of people with disabilities within sport, and to make all of these roles accessible. Their efforts in this area focus on creating enabling environments that actively facilitate disabled people’s potential as participants and as experts.

Talking points

  • What different strategies has the “fair play” initiative used to enable equality of access to sports?
  • How do they address attitudinal barriers to disabled people being involved in sport?
  • What other activities, aside from sport, create opportunities for people with disabilities?
  • Are you aware of any similar strategies or initiatives for creating access in your own community?

In the next step we ask you to explore some other projects, to see how they aim to improve access. We have grouped these around access to life opportunities, technologies, the built environment, and arts and culture.

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Disability and a Good Life: Working with Disability

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