Coronavirus: information and updates

Sport and exercise for disabled children and young people

There are many ways your child can take part in sport, exercise and physical activity. There are many accessible and disability sports, and most activities can be adapted so your child can take part.

They can take part in sport and activities through:

  • their school or college
  • sport and activity clubs
  • leisure and community centres
  • your local council
  • a disability charity or national disability sport organisation (NDSO)

Taking part in disability sport for adults

Warning Make It Count

Make It Count is Scope’s new, accessible sports fundraising challenge coinciding with the Tokyo Paralympics (24 August to 5 September 2021).

Co-produced with disabled people, Make It Count is all about clocking up minutes getting active your way. That means anyone can design a challenge that’s right for them.

However you get moving, every minute counts.

Make It Count!

Please note: under 16s will need their parent or guardian’s consent to take part.

Sport and physical activity in education

Sport and physical activities vary in schools and colleges. If staff do not know how to adapt sessions or support your child, you could contact a national disability sport organisation (NDSO) for advice. Most provide disability awareness training to teachers, coaches and clubs.

National disability sport organisations (Activity Alliance)

Some schools and colleges have links with organisations that arrange sport clubs, competitions and outdoor activities. Contact them to see what accessible and inclusive activities they offer. For example:

PE and sport premium for primary schools

Primary schools in England can get a government grant called the PE and sport premium. This is to improve physical activity at schools. This could include: training staff hiring qualified sports coaches introducing new activities You could ask the school if they get the grant and how they use it.

PE and sport premium for primary schools (GOV.UK)

EHCPs

Your child could get an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan that includes sport and exercise if they are:

  • under 25
  • in education
  • unable to access the physical activities that are available

SEN support and EHCPs

The EHCP needs to include a personal budget for sport and exercise. You can only use this money for things that have been agreed on the plan. If their EHCP does not have financial support for sport, you can ask for a review.

EHCP reviews

Finding free and discounted activities

There are free and discounted activities on these websites:

You could also search for activities where you live through:

Football, rugby and cricket clubs often have community projects to support children in the area. Check what activities your local council offers too. Some councils have a disability sports development officer you can speak with.

Find your local council (GOV.UK)

You could also look for groups that run activities in your area on social media or Meetup.

Accessible and inclusive activities

Some activity and sport centres offer accessible and inclusive sessions. For example:

  • climbing sessions for wheelchair users
  • ‘autism-friendly’ trampoline sessions where music is turned down
  • swimming lessons in hydrotherapy pools

These sessions can be more expensive. You could see if they have:

  • free taster sessions
  • discounts if you become a member
  • options to spread payments

Get more accessible activity ideas (NHS)

Grants for sport and exercise

There may be grants to help you pay for your child’s sport and physical activity depending on their needs and where you live. Some grants are for individuals, while others are only available to clubs or venues. Try looking for sports grants through:

You could also try:

Clubs may have equipment they can use. To fund equipment or kit for a particular activity, you could see if a local club or venue is willing to help you pay for it. Some clubs like the Rotary Club offer grants and funding to individuals too.

Financial support for sport and exercise

Finding and applying for grants

Talking about your child's needs

You know your child best and what activities they enjoy. It may help to talk about their needs with staff so they can work out how to adapt sessions and best support your child. You could think about:

  • what type of activities they enjoy
  • if they need individual support
  • what equipment or kit they might need
  • if they have any sensory challenges like being sensitive to noise
  • how they like to communicate
  • if they enjoy activities with other children or prefer to do them individually

You could use a play passport to tell the activity provider about your child’s needs.

Play passport (Word download)

You could ask the staff:

  • what accessible and inclusive activities they offer
  • how they adapt sessions to make them inclusive
  • if they have had disability awareness training
  • if they are DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checked
  • what specialist equipment is available
  • how accessible the venue is
  • if they have private changing rooms
  • if there are quieter times or smaller classes
  • if the canteen or restaurant area is accessible
  • if there’s disabled parking

Checking the accessibility of an event or venue

Warning Sports and coronavirus

Gyms, clubs and venues have measures in place to keep people safe from coronavirus. They might have limited space for new members because groups or classes are smaller. Or they might be running sessions virtually instead of in person. If you're not comfortable going indoors, there may be outdoor activities you can try.

Grassroots sports guidance for the public and sport providers (GOV.UK)

Last reviewed by Scope on: 06/07/2021

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