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For sports clubs

Exercise is good for our physical and mental health. However, many Autistic people face barriers participating in sport. If you are a member of a sports club, here are some things you can do to create better opportunities for Autistic people to engage, excel and enjoy the camaraderie and physical benefits that come with playing sport.

Provide training sessions for coaches, staff and volunteers to raise awareness about autism. Focus on recognising and understanding the diverse needs and strengths of Autistic individuals. Include information on effective communication strategies and sensory considerations.

Develop inclusive sports programs that cater to individuals with various abilities, including those on the autism spectrum. Provide options for different levels of competitiveness and ensure flexibility in participation.

Create sensory-friendly spaces within sports facilities to accommodate individuals with sensory sensitivities. Consider organising sensory-friendly events or game days where the environment is adapted to be more comfortable for Autistic participants.

Work with Autistic participants and their families to develop individualised support plans. Identify specific accommodations, such as modified training routines or communication strategies, to help each individual thrive.

Establish peer mentorship programs where neurotypical participants can provide support and guidance to their Autistic teammates. Foster a sense of camaraderie and teamwork within the sports club.

Implement clear and direct communication strategies within the sports club. Provide visual schedules, written instructions and consistent routines to assist Autistic participants in understanding expectations.

Be flexible in accommodating different communication styles, preferences and comfort levels. Allow individuals to participate at their own pace and provide breaks or adjustments when needed.

Include autism awareness messages in sports club communications. Educate spectators and fans about autism to promote understanding and create a supportive atmosphere during events.

If possible, provide adapted sports equipment and facilities to ensure that they are accessible to individuals with diverse needs. Consider modifications to enhance the inclusivity of the sports environment.

Seek feedback from Autistic participants, their families and coaches on the effectiveness of the inclusive initiatives. Use feedback to continually improve and adapt programs to better meet the needs of all participants.

Show off your sporting prowess and support a person on the autism spectrum by committing to walk 70,000 steps during the month of May. Register here.


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