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Blog by Sarah Milner, sports coach UK Diversity and Inclusion Lead
Disabled people are more likely to respond to activities, which connect to their everyday values says a new report by the English Federation of Disability Sport. The in-depth findings in this intuitive research could challenge providers’ thinking on the opportunities currently offered to disabled people to be active. Using this direct insight from disabled people, the national charity hopes the information supports those who deliver programmes, to improve and increase opportunities available.
The Motivate Me report builds on the English Federation of Disability Sport’s (EFDS) Lifestyle Report, released in September 2013. Our first report captured a wider picture of disabled people’s lives, understanding how and where sport and exercise fits into their lives, their motivations and activity preferences, this report goes a step further. Using qualitative research, conducted by the agency 2CV, this report provides a better understanding of the motivations of disabled people to be active.
Fourteen disabled men and women were involved in the study, aged 18 or over, with various impairments, and within the wide spectrum from non-active to active. EFDS and 2CV also ensured the disabled people had a mixture of congenital (born with) and acquired impairments. As well as face-to-face interviews with the disabled people involved, an online forum provided a place to ask participants to complete a set of specific tasks to feedback their experiences. Alongside the insight on disabled people, 2CV interviewed eight experts across the sport, physical activity and medical sectors to gain additional views and experiences.
The stark reality is that disabled people are still half as likely to be active as non-disabled people. Among the findings, the report identifies that the majority of current sport and physical activity initiatives, aimed at disabled people, are failing to engage audiences effectively. This is because the opportunities and their promotion tend to focus on the audience’s disability or impairment and miss the emotional connection required to attract disabled people. The extent to which a disabled person identifies with being disabled varies greatly from one person to the next. For most disabled people within this report, their impairment does not drive their inspiration to be active.
Barry Horne, EFDS’s Chief Executive said:
“The study highlights that a great majority of disabled people are more likely to respond to opportunities to get active when they tap into the things that matter to them most. These include the way they connect to their everyday values including: building friendships, maintaining health, becoming more independent and progressing in life.”
Activity which helps to develop a positive self image and simply having fun is what most of us seek out when wanting to improve our sense of well being and feel more fulfilled in life. This research shows more often than not disabled people are looking for opportunities, which are as likely to appeal to their non-disabled friends and family. Furthermore, disabled people want opportunities, which enable them to be active wherever and in whatever sport or activity they choose.
EFDS will build on the findings in this report to move on to join up provider and participant thoughts on the types of opportunities, which disabled people would be interested in and attracted to. EFDS hopes that this valuable research support providers to improve their opportunities for disabled people and address some key barriers, which prevent disabled people being active for life.
Download the full Motivate Me report
For mainstream coaches who seek more clarity regarding their responsibilities when it comes to coaching disabled people, extensive guidance is available online.
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