Inclusion of Person with Disabilities within Sport
Misconceptions and lack of knowledge about the true effects of disabilities frequently lead to social, economic and political exclusion of persons with disabilities. This exclusion may be intentional or unintentional.
Children with disabilities in many developing countries are often largely absent from the education system. School fees and transportation costs often force low-income parents to choose which of their children will attend school. When pushed to make such a decision, most parents choose a child without a disability. Some school systems refuse to allow children with disabilities into the classroom. This leaves private education as the only possible alternative – an option which few families can afford.
Similar inclusion challenges arise with employment. Stigma, lack of education, and inaccessible transportation and buildings mean that 80% of persons with disabilities worldwide are unemployed.
The variety and flexibility of sport makes it an excellent showcase for strategies of inclusion and adaptation.
The SDP IWG Report, “Harnessing the Power of Sport for Development and Peace: Recommendations to Governments”, made the following policy and programmatic recommendations which Member States, with SDP IWG support, are encouraged to implement:
- Identify and eradicate stigmatizing and discriminatory attitudes, policies and practices within the government itself.
- Incorporate a special focus on inclusion and developing opportunities for persons with disabilities in national sport and Sport for Development strategies.
- Include physical education for children in any disability legislation and ensure that all children with disabilities are included.
- Include persons with disabilities in policy development and planning.
- Focus on both accommodation and inclusion.
- Enforce laws and policies created to protect the rights of persons with disabilities to sport and physical education.
- Recognize and apply their right for all persons with disabilities to participate in sport, physical education and activity in all spheres of government activity.
- Engage as many sectors and implementation partners as possible in helping to realize the potential of sport to advance the inclusion and well-being of persons with disabilities.