A new three-year research project will seek to better understand the needs of parents and families of disabled children when it comes to accessing sport and physical activity.
The project will explore the barriers and motivations of families, and also look at access to provision, the challenges of families being active together, the impact on siblings with no disability, and if there are differences between community and education Provision.
The disability charity Sense and the ukactive Research Institute are calling on parents of disabled children to complete an online survey. Following the initial research, Sense will establish a national activity programme for disabled children and evaluate the impact of it on the child and the wider family.
In 2015, Sense launched a public inquiry into the provision of play opportunities for children with complex disabilities. It found that 92 per cent of parents felt their child did not have the same opportunities to play as their non-disabled peers, while 81 per cent of parents reported difficulties in accessing local play opportunities.
“We know that children with complex disabilities often miss out on participating in sport and physical exercise, which is vital for staying healthy, learning new skills and making friends”, says Alissa Ayling at Sense.
A study by ukactive in 2016 found that primary school children lose up to 74 per cent of their fitness over the summer holiday period.
The new research project will be divided into two phases, beginning with a consultation to understand the complex needs of families with disabled children in order to inform the development and delivery of sport and physical activity sessions, family days and other initiatives. The second phase will see ukactive’s Research Institute undertake the measurement and evaluation of specific interventions for families with children who have complex disabilities and non-disabled siblings.
The online survey is open until 15 March 2020 at surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Sensesurvey_