Tweed Coolangatta Junior Australian Football Club currently has three children with mild intellectual disabilities and other health concerns. One child is playing in a lower grade, while the other two are playing in their age groups.
Club President Barry Bennett says creating an inclusive culture, where each player regardless of ability, is guaranteed to play 75% of the game, is an important mission of the club. The club works with the parents and coaches to make sure each child’s needs are met and measures are in place so the child feels included.
“Interaction and inclusion within sporting clubs brings benefits to both a child with a disability and the club as a whole. For our club, it encourages a culture that is supportive and proactive.
“Access to the All In! website will definitely assist clubs and specifically the coaches to work with children with disabilities to play sport within a team environment and be seen as a valued team member and club asset.
“I think it will be a valuable tool to assist kids into groups that they have an interest in. It will help the group feel more confident to take in the child knowing that they can get some great tips. And it’s great to be able to welcome the children and make their parents feel comfortable within the club.
“Being able to access information easily and specifically for the purpose of assisting our coaches can ease the worry they may have about coaching kids with disabilities. Having some idea of what to expect and what we could do will mean that the kids and parents are more relaxed. Children will disabilities should be invited to play or participate in their chosen sport, and have qualified coaches committed to properly including them, just like any other child.
“Children with disabilities have all the needs and wants of a child without disabilities. It’s vital for all communities to have pathways and opportunities available to families of children with disabilities to live, play and simply enjoy what is important to them. Our club is proud to support all kids. If a kid wants to play footy and is willing to make a commitment to their team, that’s all we ask.”