There are many misconceptions about disability/adaptive sport, but possibly the most damaging is that some sports cannot be adapted and are not accessible to those with additional needs.
I've been involved in disability sport for over 20 years, and many attitudes have not changed in that time.
We focus on the same old activities, done in the same old way with zero imagination. Many of said activities often involve expensive equipment or travelling long distances to access specialist equipment.
Which price many disabled adults and children out of being active, and we limit their ambition to be active as a result. Disability sport for so long has been far too elite, with a focus on certain conditions and certain sports.
The main problem with this, is many disabled people cannot and do not see the sport as something that they can do for fun. Likewise, too for their families.
In disability sport, we have never really had the equivalent of jumpers for goal posts or kick about in the garden.
If we know a disabled person who likes their sport, we immediately ask, "when are you going to the Paralympics?"
Often this is said with the best of intentions, what we are unintentionally inferring by this is the only thing that has worth is elite sport.
Which just discourages any number of people for a number of reasons. To understand the basis of reasons, it is important to understand one of the unforeseen mechanics of the Paralympics.
in 2001, the International Paralympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee signed the 'One bid, One City Agreement.' What this agreement ensured is - if a city bids for the Olympics, they are then obligated to host the Paralympics as well.
On the face of it, this is a powerful statement toward inclusion by the IOC, but in the small text, the IOC stipulated to the IPC that the Paralympics needed to mimimic the Olympics in length and structure.
What this meant in practice was that the Paralympics would only and always be a showcase for certain impairments and sports.
In some people's eyes, the One Bid, One City agreement for ever limited the scope of disability sport and has been particularly detrimental for those with the most complex conditions.
Maybe it did from the elite perspective or at least from the perspective of the Paralympics.
That little bit of history is why here at Omnis CiC, we love doing sports like cricket. We love doing cricket because despite what many people think, it is one of the most easily adaptable sports.
Many of the participants that work with have never held a bat before and have no idea how to bowl a ball. We go at their pace and over time, we teach them how to bat, bowl and field.
No expensive equipment needed, we meet people where they are and they just get to play!
Adapting The Activity
Often, we don't make participants run (unless they want to), we use different balls and sized bats to ensure that every participant can hit the ball and bowl it.
No specialist equipment though, nothing overly expensive and trust me, when I tell you that we have had people with learning difficulties, physical impairments and sensory loss playing together.
Fun, recreational sport that is just for the fun of it.