Wheeling outcomes for school children

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A valuable sports program being offered to school children is proving to be a great success for creating awareness of what it’s like to live with a disability.

A valuable sports program being offered to school children is proving to be a great success for creating awareness of what it’s like to live with a disability.

Darwin Basketball Association (DBA) coordinates 10-12 school groups a term to try wheelchair basketball, providing students with an understanding of the different pathways and opportunities for people with disabilities, to add perspective to their lives and to learn about diversity and inclusion.

Krittika Divadkar, Participations and Programs Manager, DBA, said the program provided children with an opportunity to learn about disability inclusion and allowed them to physically experience what it’s like to play sport with a disability, such as wheelchair basketball.

“There’s a lot of kids who are afraid to ask questions,” Ms Divadkar said.

“Providing a safe environment to encourage their curiosity and ask questions is really important.

“Having a leader like Kerri Savage (Executive Officer DBA) to invest in and be supportive of this space in pursuing engagement activities such as these is having really great outcomes.”

DBA has six teams in the local wheelchair basketball competition that is open to able-bodied participants as well as people living with a physical or intellectual disability.

The Northern Territory Government Disability Strategy and Action Plan, launched in early August, highlights both school and sport as important grounds for people with disabilities, especially in early intervention and helping to develop healthy attitudes in life:

  • School is where many children are exposed naturally to people with disability and develop attitudes they can carry through life.
  • People with disability say that increased awareness and visibility of the needs and lives of people with disability will play a big role in improving community attitudes.
  • Sports clubs, tourism facilities, arts and cultural institutions, entertainment venues and recreation organisations all have a role to play to change the way they operate to ensure anyone can participate.
  • Often, poor outcomes arise from a failure to identify disability early. A significant proportion of disability occurs through a lack of early intervention.

Schools play a huge part in early intervention and recognising disability at an early stage.

St John’s Catholic College Year 8 students at Marrara Basketball Stadium with their teacher Zane Smith.
St John’s Catholic College Year 8 students at Marrara Basketball Stadium with their teacher Zane Smith.

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