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What isinclusion


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What is Inclusion in Sport and Physical Activity for People with Disability is all about creating new opportunities in sport and physical activity for people with disability. The 70 page e-book discusses the concept of inclusion from a practical and a theoretical perspective. Four world experts give their views on what 'inclusion' is all about. If sport and disability interests you then visit

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What isinclusion

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  2. 2. This e-book has been written and produced by Peter Downs andKen Black for The Inclusion Club.We would like to thank the contributors to this e-book, MartinMansell, Eli Wolff, Steffi de Jong and Hamish Macdonald. Theircontribution not only helps the production of this e-book but alsocontributes significantly to the ongoing success of The InclusionClub.Giveaway RightsYou may give this e-book away to your friends and colleaguesyou think would be interested in the ideas here. Please encouragethem to check out The Inclusion Club ( if you do. The only restriction is that youmay not modify this e-book or any of its contents in any way.Legal DisclaimerThe author and contributors has strived to be as accurate andcomplete as possible in the creation of this e-book,notwithstanding the fact that he does not warrant or represent atany time that the contents within are accurate due to the rapidlychanging nature of the world around us. The author andcontributors will not be responsible for any losses or damages ofany kind incurred by the reader whether directly or indirectlyarising from the use of the information found in this e-book.Reader assumes responsibility for use of information containedherein. The author reserves the right to make changes withoutnotice. The author assumes no responsibility or liabilitywhatsoever on the behalf of the reader of this report.For general enquiries please© The Inclusion Club 2012 2
  3. 3. W h a t Is I n c l us ion?In this book we are going to explore the concept of ‘inclusion’related to the provision of opportunities in sport and physicalactivity for people with disability.Over the years the term ‘inclusion’ has been used acrossgovernments world wide to describe practices that ‘include’, or atleast attempt to include, all people regardless of ability, race,culture, age, gender and a variety of other characteristics that areoften regarded as being ‘disadvantaged’ when it comes to gainingaccess to regular services, including sport.Taken in isolation the term itself is simple enough to understand.Wikipedia, the font of all knowledge in 2012, describes it from adisability rights perspective:Inclusion is a term used by people with disabilities and otherdisability rights advocates for the idea that all people shouldfreely, openly and without pity accommodate any person with adisability without restrictions or limitations of any kind. 3
  4. 4. Inclusion has certainly been used in relation to sport for sometime and has superseded terms such as mainstreaming andintegration in recent years. We are not going to define the wordinclusion here or get stuck on semantics.It’s only when you start to discuss and probe a bit deeper intohow inclusion works that you discover it can be quite complex. Itbecomes complex because it involves things like attitudes,technical skills, ideas of equal opportunity and human rights.In What is Inclusion? we are simply going to explore whatinclusion in sport means in a practical way by asking four veryexperienced and knowledgeable people. We are sure they maynot like being called ‘world experts’ but, between us, they are!This book is divided into four chapters. Each chapter is atranscript of an interview conducted with each of our fourexperts. There is a short biography of each expert at the start oftheir chapter, so you’ll know a little about their background andexperience.The chapters are direct transcripts of the interviews with a fewgrammatical improvements here and there. We have not changedthe content or tried to make these perfect English. 4
  5. 5. Our hope is that these interviews stimulate your thoughts andhelp your understanding of inclusion in sport and physicalactivity for people with disability. We’d like to say a big thanks toour contributors to this book - Martin, Eli, Steffi and Hamish.Please continue to make a dent in the world.This is an Inclusion Club production. If you are not a member ofThe Inclusion Club you can join for free by simply going to ourwebsite at The Inclusion Club is allabout sharing best practice in sport, physical activity anddisability. We’d love to have you on board. Enjoy.Peter Downs and Ken BlackDirectors and Founders of The Inclusion Club 5
  6. 6. ! Martin Mansell 6
  7. 7. Martin Mansell has been involved in disability sportsince 1975. First as a competitor with 2 ParalympicGames, two World, two European championships and 15other international competitions (last games 1998 Seoul,1 gold 2 sliver 1 bronze, swimming) and later as a coach.In 1990, as a result of the sports ministers reportBuilding on Ability which was an outcome from the 1988Seoul Paralympic Games, he was appointed as one of thefirst professional Sports Development Officers for Peoplewith Disabilities within a Local Education Authority inEngland.In 1989 has was elected Chairperson of the BritishParalympic Association Athletes’ Committee and later asChairperson of the International Paralympic CommitteeAthletes’ Commission and was a Director of the BritishParalympic Association till January 2005 when he stooddown. He has been working with Paralympics GB ontheir work on their Schools Education program calledAbility v Ability. He also works for a number oforganizations and in 1998 set up MJM Associates asadvisers on disability sport. He works with organizationssuch as the Youth Sport Trust, Paralympics GB, EnglishFederation of Disability Sports and NASUWT as a 7
  8. 8. consultant to name just a few. In addition to this he hasbeen involved in a number of other projects such asFloatsation ( that is now one of hiscompanies as well as working in a self-employedcapacity. 8
  9. 9. PeterIn a broad sense what do you understand by inclusion?MartinI think in a very broad sense Peter, we are looking atmaking sure that people with disabilities have equalopportunity to take part in sport, physical activity andphysical education – or whatever environment peoplechose to do it in. I think that historically we tend to thinkof inclusion as sport that is done by the disabledalongside the non-disabled people, but that in reality it’sabout creating the opportunity to do whatever peoplechoose and where they feel the most comfortableparticipating – and whatever level they choose.PeterDoes that include then disability specific type activities?MartinI think it would, yes. We can look at disability sport intwo ways. We can look at it as a sport that is played onlyby disabled people or we can look at disability sport asjust a form of sport that is played by disabled and non- 9
  10. 10. disabled. But I think that historically we have this issueabout non-disabled people looking at disability sport asonly sports for disabled people and therefore it excludesthem. So you’ve almost got a concept of reverseexclusion in a way.I think the time is now that we can allow thoseindividuals, whoever they are, to take up sports such asboccia, goalball, wheelchair basketball, wheelchairrugby, sitting volleyball – it doesn’t matter. The real issueis what the competition structure allows. So as anexample of that I would advocate that hypothetically, tocompete in the Paralympic Games or a Disabled WorldChampionships you have to have a disability in the sameway as if you want to compete in the under 15’schampionships and you are 16, therefore you are noteligible.PeterWhat about have parallel activities for example, in PElessons having separate sessions for children withdisabilities. Is that still inclusion? 10
  11. 11. MartinI think some people would see it as not being inclusion.They might see it as not being with their other peerstherefore it is not inclusive. But I think inclusion is moreabout how you plan and structure the lesson and I think ifyou want to segregate – for want of a better word –children with disabilities in a PE lesson to facilitate skilldevelopment then I think that’s fine – whether they aredisabled or non-disabled kids.The real issue is whether you bring them back togethersocially within that lesson so they have the opportunity toexchange and interact with their peers. So yes, if a kidwith a particular disability or a kid with a coordination orobesity issue is struggling then why not take that kidaside and spend some time with them on an individualbasis as you would in a coaching environment.PeterWhat would you say then to people who would say that itis separation and the best choice for people withdisability is to be with people who do not have adisability. 11
  12. 12. MartinMaybe we have become a society then, that says ‘isinclusion for everyone, not just for some disabledpeople’ and therefore we’ve either always been inclusiveor we have never really been inclusive because workingwith non-disabled people we segregate them out as wellby their height, their sex, their age and, in some cases,their skills – so we segregate them out to try to get thebest out of them – that’s how I would look at it.PeterSo does it come down to what is the best choice for anindividual?MartinI think it does come down to that. I’ve always had aconcept in my mind that inclusion – if there is such athing – is about facilitating educated choice. Now, somepeople will say ‘what is educated choice’ and I’d say itsabout making sure that individuals are able to experiencethe options available. If we are professionals looking atit, our role to be inclusive is to facilitate what that 12
  13. 13. individual wants based on their educated choice andexperience.PeterBeing ‘educated’ for some people might mean being ableto adapt and modify activities so that you can includepeople with disabilities. How far do you think we can goin terms of adapting and modifying activities?Sometimes there’s a fine line between adapting andmodifying and offering the best choice for people. Sohow far can we go in adapting and modifying?MartinI think we need to go as far as we possibly can to modifyand adapt an activity as long as it still represents theoriginal activity itself. What we don’t want to do is startmodifying an activity that becomes so far removed fromthe original game or concept that it no longer has anyrelationship to that activity. You don’t want to modify afootball game by bringing in a rugby ball and changingthe rules so that you run with the ball instead of kick it.You have to ask the question ‘why does the individualwant to play football?’ Probably because they are 13
  14. 14. stimulated by the media, they are influenced by thesuperstars of the world. We’ve all got role models in ourlives. We take up sport because we want to be like ourrole models. If we change that sport to something that nolonger represents it, then you lose the motivation to takeup the activity. It’s no longer got a relationship to whatI’m seeing on the television.PeterWhen it gets to the point where it affects the integrity ofthe activity for the whole group, that’s where it actuallybreaks down, isn’t it?MartinIt does. I think you’ve hit on two very important pointsthere. One is that the integrity of the activity itself isimportant and also the integrity of the whole group as ateam sport. I think if it’s an individual sport, like athleticsor swimming, it can be a little easier. And it makesadapting a little more comfortable. I think with teamsports there are some larger challenges. 14
  15. 15. PeterMartin, I want to ask you about medical and socialmodels. Do you think a conversation around medical andsocial models is still relevant in terms of inclusion?MartinNo. In a word. We still hang our hats on making thedifferential between a medical and social model. You’vegot the stuff that Ken Black and Pamela Stephenson havedone around the Inclusion Spectrum and the originalWinnick model – so we have those models of inclusionwhich are good. I think these models are relevant in asocial application of disability and sociology.But I think when it comes to physical activity I think weneed to take the best of both worlds and look at what Iwould call a ‘functional’ model, rather than a social ormedical model. I’ve done some work over the last coupleof years in trying to draft up a functional/sports modelwith a couple of colleagues in the United States. We havenot yet finished and it seems like a long slog to get there.This will be a combination of the social modelsphilosophy and the medical models stance and bringsthem together for a functional outcome. 15
  16. 16. PeterYes, its interesting whether a social/medical mindset issignificant these days or whether it is more advantageousto talk about a functional model in the way that youexplain. Do you think its just more of a progressive wayto say the same things?MartinI think so. You know, I’ve talked to my coach over manyyears about how he perceived me when he coached me.His approach was always that he didn’t know anythingabout disability and he didn’t know anything about thesocial and medical model. All he knew about wasswimming coaching. And what he advocated was that helooked only at what I could do as opposed to what Icouldn’t do. And he worked with me as an individual onthat basis.The analysis of that is, that this is him working only on afunctional basis with me or any other swimmer that wasin the pool. 16
  17. 17. PeterDid you ever come across other coaches though thatthought ‘I couldn’t coach Martin because he has adisability’?MartinIn the early days, yes. I think the issue though there, isthat someone like myself and other Paralympic athleteswho get to a certain stage of development and semielitism – they are dead easy to work with because all thehard work has already been done. It’s the ones at the baselevel that are starting out. If you look at some of the topathletes in the world I think what we need to do is drawan analogy between who they were when they were 6 or7 years old to who they became.We all look at some of the top disabled athletes and thinkthey should be dead easy to coach, but if you had seenthem when they were only 6 years old then would yourresponse be “I don’t know anything about disabilities so Ican’t coach them!” 17
  18. 18. PeterWhat’s a good response to that? We’ve all heard that kindof thing over the years but how do you respond to thequestion – “I need to know about the disability first?”MartinI am not quite sure what the academic response wouldbe. I think the response might be ‘why can’t you justwork with us initially and we’ll work with you”. So thatthose that are in the ‘know’ will work with individualswho are a little bit hesitant. You might say ‘let’s work forthe next few weeks and then we can review it’. And if theperson still feels that they can’t deal with it, then we willlook at the reasons why.If we are to remove the barriers, then it is about almostcounsel the coaches that do that. And I think there wouldbe some coaches out there that would be very open tothat kind of support and counseling. I don’t want that tosound like ‘counseling’ in a patronizing way but it’sabout supporting them and giving them the benefit of theknowledge that we have. It’s about mentoring themthrough it. I think you’d find that 75% of coaches havegot the skills but they just don’t know it. 18
  19. 19. PeterThat’s great Martin. One final thing I would like to askyou about is that there seems to be a trend, not sure if it’sa world wide trend but certainly is here in Australia, thatwe are using the word ‘inclusion’ in a much more genericway. We apply if to all of us working across areas indisability, Indigenous or culturally and linguisticallydiverse populations. But there comes a time when weneed specific advice and experience in targeted areassuch as disability. We can’t all be giving all advice aboutinclusion all of the time!MartinNo, we cannot expect everyone to be inclusive all of thetime. You know Peter, I’ve worked in this field for a longtime – I won’t go into how long that is – but, I don’tthink we can expect everyone to be totally inclusivebecause we havent all got the knowledge necessary. Ithink it’s about letting people say “I have a problem withthis individual – how do I resolve it and where do I go toresolve it?’ 19
  20. 20. So it is about making sure that those coaches andteachers know where the avenues are, as to where theycan find information if and when they need it. So that if Iwas working with a group of kids with severe obesitythen I am not sure where I would start. But what I woulddo is look for the organizations that know about obesityand talk to them about health related obesity.I can give you a scenario. I tend to use this when I’mtalking to coaches – is that there was a famous runner inthe UK - a 400 meter runner – he broke down in theBarcelona 400 meter final and his dad walked onto thetrack and carried him off. He was originally coached in asmall athletics club in Corby in the UK and when he wasrecognized as having good talent he moved to BirchfieldHarriers, which is a much bigger and more successfulclub in the Birmingham area.But he had an Achilles tendon problem and when hetransferred to Birchfield Harriers – if the coach atBirchfield Harrioers had coached him in the same waythat he coached his other 400 meter runners then hewould have aggravated that Achilles tendon much earlierand probably would not have got to Barcelona. 20
  21. 21. Now the coach had no experience of this runner and hisAchilles tendon problem previously, but he went andlooked up and researched about Achilles tendon injuries– he researched what he needed to know so that he couldapply that to his coaching knowledge and coach in adifferent way.If you relate that to disability and if you have a problemand an individual is struggling, then why preach aboutvision impairment when the coach may never havesomeone with a vision impairment come through thedoor – and if they do what level of vision impairment is itgoing to be?PeterI guess it’s about adapting to individual requirements?MartinYes, and how is that any different to anyone else? Maybethat’s inclusion! 21
  22. 22. PeterSo what about the future Martin? Where do you thinkinclusion is going?MartinI think that in the future the warning is that we becomecomplacent. That we think we’ve got it right. A warningsign is also that we are bringing new people into the areawith no historical background and knowledge of what’sgone on before. I am not saying that we need to go backand revisit the past, but sometimes we need to be awareof the past. If we are not aware of the past we can end upmaking mistakes and go backwards if we are not careful.PeterNice. I think that would be a good place to conclude theinterview. Thanks very much Martin, is there anythingyou’d like to add?MartinMaybe just a couple of things. There is a tendency towork with those with more ability – there’s less workhappening with more severe disabilities. We need to becareful of that. Phil Craven, President of the International 22
  23. 23. Paralympic Committee - he’s been on the record assaying ‘inclusion as a word shouldn’t exist because thevery fact that we’re having to be inclusive means that weare excluded in the first place’. It’s disabled peoples’ godgiven right to be there in the first place so why should wehave the word ‘inclusion’?PeterVery good. It reminds me very much of the words ofElizabeth Hastings (Disability DiscriminationCommission) 15 years ago at the launch of the Willingand Able program here. Her words were almost identical.MartinYes, I don’t disagree with Phil and he has also gone onrecord recently where he has said he doesn’t like theword ‘disability’ because the word disables us in the firstplace.PeterWhat do you think about that? 23
  24. 24. MartinWell, my wife’s a social worker and she says that’s agreat philosophy but what are you going to replace itwith? It’s great to think that but what are you going toreplace it with in society? We need something to befunctional for service providers.PeterYes, there’s a reality around that.Thanks again Martin, I really appreciate your time andinput. 24
  25. 25. Eli Wolff Eli Wolff is the Director of the Sport and Development Project at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Eli sees sport as a social development tool, not simply a form of entertainment. His work originally focused on disability, as he researched and advocated for the inclusion of disabled athletes in collegiate, professional, and Olympic sports.  He helped to draft the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2003, and is still recognized as a leader in this field today. Yet Eli has also become interested in larger questions of sport and social change.  At Brown, he co-directs the Sport and Society Fellowship, which enables student-athletes to explore the intersection of sport and human rights. He also directs the Sport and Development Project, which includes a broader group of stakeholders in programs and initiatives focusing on sport and social change. 25
  26. 26. PeterHi Eli, great to meet up with you again and thanks foragreeing to the interview. What do you understand by theword ‘inclusion’ in a disability and sport context?EliI tend to think of inclusion pretty holistically.Particularly how a person is valued and respected andinvolved in a particular experience. So a person with adisability can reach their potential - whether it’s in adisability specific setting or an integrated able bodiedmainstream setting. One thing that I see a lot of, is thatpeople with disabilities can take part in multiple settingsalong a spectrum or continuum of opportunity. So it isimportant that we don’t box a person with a disabilityinto any particular situation. But we should try tomaximize their potential through being open minded andcreative and really trying to value that person as a humanbeing.So a lot of it goes back to the human rights frameworkwhich I tie into this a lot. For me inclusion is about aholistic approach and how you value the whole person. 26
  27. 27. Sports can sometimes be exclusive - so how do youcreate a paradigm shift so that it can be more inclusive?PeterYou mentioned a couple of things there that I’d like topick up on. The first is the tie in with human rights. Andthe other is the exclusive nature of sport. So from ahuman rights perspective, what is the dilemma betweeninclusion as opportunity and choice, and sport thatnaturally, and unnaturally, excludes people?EliThat’s a great question. I think that it’s important from ahuman level - a human rights perspective is just realizingthat a person with a disability has the right to be able touse their body and be athletic. To be able to reach theirpotential and to see that sport and physical activity orrecreation is a dimension of our lives, that people withdisabilities have a right to be able to access in the sameway as everybody. People should have the chance to ‘tryout’ and be on the team. But with sports sometimes youmay not make the team or reach the standard ofexcellence that is needed. But from a human rightsperspective you have to understand that you may not 27
  28. 28. have the same equal opportunity that those withoutdisabilities would have. So if people without disabilitiesare sometimes being cut from a team for whateverreason, you’d like to expect that the same criteria appliesto people with disabilities.But it’s more the idea from a human rights perspectivethat sport is a sphere of life that people with disabilitiescan partake in and go through all the experiences andemotions that go with the domain of sport. These thingsare just as applicable to people with disabilities. The onething that comes from an exclusion standpoint withregard to sport and disability is that often the averagesports fan regards sport and disability as a kind ofoxymoron.People with disability are often seen as being on thesideline or simply not on the playing field. So I thinkthat it’s important that we have a paradigm shift to beable to realize, that from an inclusive standpoint, the waythat we actually see a person with a disability as beingpart of the sports culture, the more we can createawareness and the more that the average sports fanbegins to see a person with a disability involved in sports 28
  29. 29. not just as an outlier or a token - but this is just part ofthe sports fabric.This should be anywhere in the world and at any level ofsport, competitive or not. The key is that we begin to justsee disability in a different way within sports. This iscontrary to some of the more archaic views of whatdisability means that is reflected in some of the languagethat is used such as ‘that gimpy athlete’ or ‘that crippledathlete’. The language that is used and the way thatpeople with disabilities are sometimes portrayed, meansthere is still a lot of stigma there.This is why it is fascinating from an academic and realperspective. How do we adjust these problems? How dowe work toward creating a more inclusive society? Ithink it’s getting better but we have to keep working at itby being diligent and vocal.PeterI’ll come to the stigma issue in a second but going backto the human rights question. There is a gray areabetween what is a ‘sport choice’ and a ‘human rightschoice’. It’s that difference to when people make a 29
  30. 30. decision on choice based on the rules of sport as opposedto a decision based on human rights. Have you seenexamples of problems arising from a ‘sport choice’ to a‘human rights’ choice?EliThat’s a really good question and I think that often it ison a case by case basis. You can sometimes see thesituation whereby it’s unclear if athletes’ rights have beenviolated and he has been discriminated against, orwhether or not he simply didn’t make the team. So its isoften taken on a case by case basis and you have to lookat the situation. There are many cases where an athletehas not necessarily been discriminated against as it mightjust be a ‘fair play’ situation. But there may not havebeen reasonable accommodation for the athlete. But thereare also many instances where a person with a disabilitycould be involved in a much more comprehensive waybut the organization is not make those accommodationsand the kids with disabilities are just sitting on thesidelines. That still happens all over the world.So I think there are some clear distinctions between whatare rights violations and what is more to do with things 30
  31. 31. like selection criteria. Because of the nature of sport asyou go through the continuum of recreation to leisure tofitness and all the way to more competitive sport, thereare these lines and questions such as ‘can this be moreinclusive and participatory’? You get those all along. It isparticularly so at the more participation end where thehuman rights perspective comes in. I think where you getinto the higher levels of competition when you havethings such as selection criteria, you can still see humanrights violations, but there are different circumstancesand situations here.PeterYou mentioned ‘stigma’ too. I’d just like to get yourthoughts on that. Stigma is can be attributed to whyexclusion happens. Where do you think that stigmacomes from? Are we ever going to combat stigmathrough sport?EliBeing involved with the United Nations and disabilityrights and focusing these past 10 years on raisingawareness of disability in general society I think thework on addressing the ‘fear factor’ is significant. 31
  32. 32. Disability generally in our society brings up a lot ofemotions in people, simply because it is different,especially for physical disability but also for intellectualdisability. Because it is different people are not ascomfortable. They don’t have the experience or theknowledge base to fall back on. People are not exposedto disability.People react in very different ways. It could be they arejust shy, or angry, or mean - so you find a lot of differentways that people respond. One of the things that I havefound by working in the Olympics and professionalsports is that often it is just a lack of information. I thinkin the last few years there has been more curiosity andpeople taking an interest in sport and disability - seeing itas an exciting and emerging new area. So I feel that thereis a lot of hope and potential now for transforming theculture. The way that I have approached it with mycolleagues has been to look at it historically, and to alsolook at racial inclusion and gender inclusion and makingthose comparisons.If you look historically around race, gender and disabilityand in particular around race and apartheid, and you look 32
  33. 33. to see where we are now in terms of race relations orother forms of discrimination and stigma, you do seeprogress. You do see it evolving and I think in regard todisability and stigma, I feel it is on that trajectory so thatin 20 years from now it’s going to be very different. Weare going to be that much more of an inclusive society,especially because of those of us that are pushing theenvelope and asking good questions and taking more ofan educational approach.There may well be things that are going to happen, suchas legal cases, that are going to push even more for socialchange. There’ll also be more athletes that are inpositions of power that are going to be able to make keydecisions. So there are all these factors that will allow forthings to change over time.Some days I think this is never going to change, but otherdays I’m feeling very hopeful. I’m sure we all have thosekind of days. But stigmas can be very embedded and onething that I talk about a lot is both external and internalstigma. Internal stigma is where people with disabilitystigmatize themselves. This is part of our own 33
  34. 34. empowerment process. This will help us understandwhat does inclusion mean.So if you look at other social movements in sports, youcan learn a lot and see ways in which we can progress thedisability movement.PeterI like the comparison with other movements and I agreethere is a lot we can learn there. You mention that ‘lackof knowledge’ is one thing that restricts inclusion. Whatother things do you think impact on how inclusive wecan be?EliI think the athlete interactions with their allies, peers andpeople without disabilities contribute a lot. We needpeople with disabilities and people without disabilitiesspeaking up. One of the things that I feel strongly aboutis the media. The more documentaries, movies,commercials and even viral videos out there promotingthe disability movement through sports, the faster thingswill progress. Also, with policy it’s not enough to have itsitting on the shelf. All these things help and add up. But 34
  35. 35. in 2012 there’s not a good disability sports website, likean ESPN. They don’t even have a disability section or aconstant thread of stories that show case disability sports.I know the BBC has picked up some that is helping togrow disability sports in different markets, but in termsof really embracing disability sport there is a way to go.Even the language and symbols that are being used inthese contexts are not helping at times. Appropriatelanguage and symbols should be used by governingbodies, such as FIFA and IAAF. That is happening nowbut there does need to be more involvement from themainstream sports movements. For example, how do theOlympics and Paralympics interact? I know for Londonthey are doing a lot. But we must keep pushing.I have been fairly outspoken about the philosophy ofOlympism, as this philosophy is a very holisticphilosophy that embraces everybody, and people withdisabilities are part of the Olympic movement. In the pastthe Paralympics have been identified as a separatemovement and it is only recently that the Paralympicshas been described as being part of the Olympicmovement. I think this is a really good thing from a 35
  36. 36. humanitarian standpoint. It’s important that we realizethat this is all part of one movement. Even if there areactual different events, its still together as part of onemovement.So it’s important that we create these systems that are notparallel but integrated. Like I said, even if they areseparate events, it’s the way we communicate aboutthem, the way we talk about them and package thesethings. We do need to consider what it means for peoplewith disabilities to be part of the same systems, ratherthan separate systems.PeterI think you’ve hit on one of the real grey areas here.While sport that is only for people with disability - suchas the Paralympics, is all part of ‘inclusion’, it is notoften packaged that way. They are packaged as‘separate’ events, somehow different to everything else.But they are no different to women only events, or eventsfor people of a certain weight category. But we are notvery smart sometimes in how we package these events. 36
  37. 37. EliYes, and I’ve learnt off you over the years, as I thinkthere has been a select number of us that have beentrying to communicate this message and raise theawareness for what this means - trying to simplify that.There are folks that talk about the ‘identity’ of peoplewith disability and the uniqueness of that - but you canalso say the same thing about women or anybody thatcomes with a unique identity. So it’s about how do youcreate events that package events together rather thanseparate them in this way, such as the CommonwealthGames. The more that we can have those conversationsand the more that we can educate about that, the better.This semester I am teaching a course on Olympism, andone of the weeks is about the Paralympics and disability.Every time I get involved in a discussion with peoplewho know nothing about the Paralympics, they often talkabout why there isn’t a way they can be packagedtogether. It doesn’t seem to make sense to them that theyare separate. And that’s great to hear. That gives me hopefor the future for people that are in sports organizationsand positions of influence, that they will have thatawareness, and it will make them think about how they 37
  38. 38. can create events that are more inclusive. It’s clearlygoing to take more time, but there are things we can do inthe short term to keep pushing.One other thing I’d like to mention. I’ve been working onthis project the last few weeks. It seems so obvious but Ithink it could have a huge impact. At the moment thereare no video games on Paralympic sports or disabledsports. It seems to me that this could be a huge - for oneof the sport game companies to make a wheelchair rugbyor wheelchair basketball game. To me, that level ofintegration could go a long way. Think about all thepeople that play video games, especially kids that get intosports games, and to have that as an option.PeterI totally agree. At one stage a few years ago we looked atdeveloping Sports Ability - an inclusive games programhere in Australia and elsewhere in the world - to becomea Sports AbiliWi. A Wi game around sports such asBoccia and Table Cricket would suit the Wi environmentreally well. If you can play tennis and golf that way thenyou can certainly play other sports, such as boccia, thatway too. 38
  39. 39. EliIs it in production?PeterNo, it’s not. It never got further than a thought bubble.But it’s a great concept.One more questions if you don’t mind Eli - somethingyou have touched on a couple of times - the future!You’ve been around for a while now. Where do you thinkwe will be in ten years from now in terms of inclusion?EliFor me, I always feel that I am learning. It’s been anintensive last ten years or so. You know, I was at the IPCVISTA meeting and there were several other sportsfederations there. They were telling me that they werereally trying to push integration, trying to get moredisabled sports involved with their sports. They said thatthey were getting some level of support from theParalympics but they thought that they could receiveeven more, so that it became a priority area for them. 39
  40. 40. I also feel that right from the relationship between theOlympics and Paralympics - right through to grass rootspartnerships at the school and club level - we’re going tosee more and more best practices, more sports that arereally integrated and more events that are integrated. Iwould hope that there is more information readilyavailable, that you could go to an ESPN or any of themain sport news channels and you could go to a tab fordisabled sports. It will become more and more of anindustry and I think that will be an exciting thing.I also think that it will become more business orientated,more complicated and more of a ‘complete’ industry.From a teaching standpoint, there are only a few sportsmanagement programs that teach about disabled sportsand adapted physical activity. Hopefully in ten yearsfrom now they all will. They will just be one of thecourses you can take.Hopefully, in ten years from now we will be muchfurther along. But there some things we have all beenworking on for the last ten years and they are still thesame! But I do feel hopeful because of the enthusiasmthat I see from young people. And the definition of 40
  41. 41. inclusion is changing. From a human rights standpoint itwas more about access issues and getting jobs, but nowthere is a greater level of awareness. The basic things arethere a little bit more and its shifting to things like youthadvocacy and realizing more that you can be moreinnovative about programs and that you can change theway that clubs are run. Even in schools there’s anawareness that if a kid does turn up that they can have agood experience.Still, I realize there are many parts in the world wherethat is not the case, and there is still a lot of work thatneeds to be done in those parts of the world. Disability ismore on the agenda of developing agencies now,especially since the UN Convention process has been inplace. Disability is a part of all that now, it’s not off theradar!But there has to be a group of us that keeps at it.PeterI agree entirely. While some things have changeddramatically, others have remained the same. Overall, it’scome a long way in the last few years and it will be 41
  42. 42. exciting to see what happens in the next ten years. Imight conclude it there as you’ve given us a lot of richmaterial. So thank you very much. I really appreciateyour time and input. 42
  43. 43. Steffi de Jong Steffi is co-founder and Impact Director of Playable. She is passionate about using the power of sport for social change. Steffi co- founded PlayAble while still at university. After receiving her Master degree in Adapted Physical Activities in Leuven, Oslo and Stellenbosch and a Master degree in Implementation and Evaluation of Sport Projects at the Paris 10 University, she was committed to continue impacting lives of people with disabilities. 43
  44. 44. As her main motivation, Steffi refers to theenormous changes she has seen in thechildren who participate in PlayAble. "Achild that used to be neglected by thecommunity can develop into someone with adisABILITY who is confident and aware ofhis/her rights just in a few weeks of sportparticipation. Isn’t that amazing?!"In her free time, Steffi loves to be active,from playing soccer and squash to mountainbiking and skiing. When she is not workingor playing sport, you’ll find her enjoying lifewith family and friends. 44
  45. 45. PeterHi Steffi - in your experience, what do you understandabout inclusion of people with disability in sport andphysical activity?SteffiWhat I understand about inclusion and what we try toteach in PlayAble to our coaches and instructors, is thatinclusion is all about providing a choice to people withdifferent abilities to play together in the way that theywant. For us it’s not necessarily one type of activity. It’sreally about enabling trainers and coaches to actuallyadapt existing games in such a way that everyone thatcomes out onto the field can play together.Whether it’s kids without disabilities or kids withdifferent disabilities, it doesn’t matter, kids with alldifferent abilities, they actually get a chance to playtogether. To play together at the highest level of theirperformance, so that each and every one of them is stillchallenged in a sense that they can reach their highestlevel. 45
  46. 46. PeterYou’ve worked in some challenging environments. Whatdo you think are the major challenges to inclusion?SteffiI think that one of the biggest challenges that we arefacing in the African countries that we are working withis the tendency to really stick to rules. For example, ifyou are going to do Volleyball you must stick to all therules, so if a person cannot ‘set’ then they can’t join, andthat’s it! That’s the mind-set that lots of people have.That for us is the biggest challenge. We need a change inmind-set. To try to enable people to be creative andletting them try with different rules and differentequipment and using different instructions. That takes awhile and is one of the biggest challenges that we have.The second one is the attitudes. Some of the initialattitudes can be really negative. You know as you havebeen to different countries. There’s an attitude that peoplewith disabilities just can’t play sports because they are ina wheelchair, for example. Their disability is equated totheir inability in a sense. That is a challenge for inclusionat the first point, because it’s not only other people that 46
  47. 47. believe the kids with disabilities don’t have ability, it’sthe kids themselves.If you have been locked up in your house for years andyou have never had the opportunity to play, then youdon’t have the confidence in your own abilities. So whatwe see in the beginning, very often, is that fully inclusiveactivities can have a very negative effect, because kidswith disabilities can get very insecure playing with theirable bodied peers.The other kids are like “hey, they can’t play with us”. SoI think that is a big challenge. We try to tackle it by doingit step by step. Those are the two biggest challenges thatwe face.PeterWe will certainly explore attitudes a bit more. But I wasinterested in ‘the rules’. Do you think rules are one of themost restrictive things about sport, particularly for peoplewho are more used to the rules that govern sport. 47
  48. 48. SteffiI think for those that do physical education training theyare so focused on the rules. For example, their exams arefocused on the rules of the games. So I think for them itis even more of a bigger challenge to change their mind-set as opposed to others who are not so familiar with thegames. They are open to adapting at first because theysimply don’t know the rules in the first place. Of coursethere are exceptions because there are teachers who aretrained but that ‘get it’ very fast and they are reallycreative. But there are also some that really havedifficulties in sticking to the rules.PeterNow, I’m really interested to know. You have worked inAfrica and in Europe. Do you see any differencesbetween how creative people are in these countries?SteffiFrom my experience the biggest difference in Europe andAfrica is perhaps the educational system. People inEurope are forced much more to question and thinkcreatively about different solutions, whereas in Africa, atleast in the areas that we have worked, the teacher is 48
  49. 49. there to tell the rules and that is what you do. That is myown interpretation, but it is what I think is the biggestcause of this difference. They are not really taught how toquestion and think creatively. Of course, that’s ageneralization and doesn’t count for everyone.PeterYes, I understand the generalization and see what youmean. Can I ask you about attitudes. Are theredifferences you’ve seen into attitudes towards inclusionand how are these linked to culture?SteffiYes, definitely. I think this is why going to Africa wassuch an eye opener for me. In many African countriesthere are still many cultural beliefs around disability.Disability as a curse and the punishment of god. It’ssomething very negative and lots of parents feel ashamedof their kids. We work with a lot of kids who are inorphanages, but they are not orphans. It’s just that theirparents won’t have anything to do with them.There are also kids that have been locked in their housefor many years and even neighbors don’t know they 49
  50. 50. exist. It is because it is seen as some kind of failure ofthe family. I think that if you are more in the urban areasit’s changing and getting better, but in the rural areasthere is still a lot of stigma attached to disability.PeterThat’s very interesting. Do you think that sport can helpchange that?SteffiOh yes - otherwise I could definitely stop working forPlayAble right now! This is the whole reason we startedPlayAble and why we continue working because wereally believe in the power of sport to changing thoseattitudes. To give you some examples, in Kenya weworked in a community, in one of the slum areas ofNairobi, where we had about 20 kids just staying at homeand we got them playing activities every week incommunity fields. In the beginning, the communitymembers didn’t quite know what was going on, but overthe weeks we really saw that their attitudes changed. Wesaw people coming out to watch and being surprised. Atone point we decided to invite the local school, theirteachers and the local leader. When they saw the 50
  51. 51. activities they were able to see that those kids really dohave abilities. So they thought they should get a chanceto go to school. The activities convinced people thatthose kids do have abilities and they can do lots of thingsif you just give them a chance. In the end they opened upa whole new classroom for those 20 kids so that they arenow going to school.That’s just one example but it’s typical of what we havebeen experiencing over the last few years in all the areaswe have worked in. It really is changing attitudes, andthe impact reaches much further than on a personal level.It’s also on a societal level that things are changing.PeterThat’s a great example of the power of sport. What is thereaction of children without disabilities to what you do?SteffiAt the beginning they have ‘big eyes’ and are staring abit! They are thinking “what’s going on here and who arethose kids?” There might be a bit of giggling and nottaking it all that serious, but then, for example, in Ugandawe started some parallel activities first to help the kids 51
  52. 52. get to know each other first. After some weeks we reallysaw that, step by step, they started to talk to each otherand started to kick some balls with each other. Now weare in the position that some of the kids are in completelyinclusive teams. It takes time, but you really do see thatfriendships are being made between the kids.PeterNow, I’m assuming that you use local equipment too, asits important to just use what people are used to. Do theymanage to adapt and modify ways of doing things withdifferent kinds of equipment too?SteffiYes, we do use as much as possible local equipment. Forexample, we have introduced in Uganda boccia. Therewere no boccia balls available so we just used whateverwe could as balls, even stones. I think even the coachesget more and more creative too, as we have to use what isavailable.PeterOne of the discussions we’ve had with the other peopleon this project is the idea that inclusion is sometimes 52
  53. 53. perceived only as activities that are for people with andwithout disabilities together. And inclusion does notmean disability specific type activities. Is that perceptionsomething you have seen in African countries?SteffiIn the countries that we work those terms are not known.We are trying to teach different ways of inclusion. But,basically I think that’s more of a personal thing. I don’treally care which name we give it. I think inclusion isnot necessarily adapting a game for kids withoutdisabilities, so that kids with disabilities can be included.For me it can be the opposite way too. A game for kidswith disabilities that can include kids without disabilities.To me, it’s not just about adapting activities to includekids with disabilities. It’s more about creating anopportunity for all kids to play together, whether it’s so-called ‘reverse’ integration, when kids withoutdisabilities play boccia, for example.I understand that there is a difference and I understandthat some people might argue that real inclusion ishaving kids with disabilities all playing together inmainstream soccer, for example. You know, I think it is 53
  54. 54. only really in English speaking countries where there isthis difference between inclusion and integration. Forme, it’s more important that there is a choice and thatthey can play whatever they want at the level that theylike.PeterSo you are saying that inclusion is really only about‘opportunity’ and ‘choice’.SteffiYes, I think for me that is the most important. We couldalso see inclusion as being in ‘sport’, whether that isbeing included in Paralympic sports, or being included inunified sports. But for me, the important thing is thatthere is a choice. If the kids don’t feel comfortableplaying soccer together, then there is still an option toplay in wheelchair basketball, and that is the case forboth kids with and without disabilities. I don’t have adisability, but I play wheelchair basketball and I felt Iwas included in that team. I’m not sure I am makingmyself clear, but to me the differences in phrases andwords don’t really matter. It’s more the final outcomethat counts for me. 54
  55. 55. PeterYes, it’s the global language isn’t it! Everyoneunderstands when an opportunity is created. That’sfantastic Steffi. To conclude, I’d just like to explore alittle more the kinds of attitudes, fears and approachesyou have come across, because it is a bit different andyou’ve seen first hand the power that sport can have onthose communities. How fast does this transformationprocess happen and when do you start seeing results?SteffiI think that depends a lot on the background. Forexample, in rural areas the attitudes are still a bit morenegative, so it takes longer there than in the cities.Obviously, it varies from person to person but I’ve reallybeen surprised by how short a time it takes. Even duringour course for coaches of 4 to 5 days, there’s coaches thathave never worked with kids with disabilities and theycome in and say things like “oh god, why did we choseyou and why are you in this course?” But over the fourdays when they get this experience in working with thosekids, you really can get some great changes. 55
  56. 56. They really realize that their attitudes were wrong. Foradults, maybe it goes faster than for kids. We do seecoaches after the course immediately have great attitudesand they really want to try their level best to helpeveryone that comes their way. For the kids, in Uganda itwas pretty fast too. If you only have a few kids, it onlytakes a few, to go and talk to the kids with disabilities.Then the others will follow. We do try to pick a few rolemodels, both for kids with and without disabilities, soyou can connect them up better. This promotes a lot ofinteraction.A funny part is also the parents. In the beginning they arealso skeptical. Having their kid playing with someonewith a disability. But at the end of the season you reallyget their reactions. They are completely changed and theyrealize that these kids also play soccer. They are prettyamazed initially. One of the kids in Uganda was topscorer, he was born without legs, so he was playingsoccer with his hands, among kids that were playing withtheir feet. It was amazing and he is such a powerful rolemodel for all those parents. He became the rock-star ofhis community. 56
  57. 57. We’ve already talked about the power of sport. It is waymore powerful than anything we can talk about. Justseeing those kids in action really helped.PeterYes, that’s a great place to stop the interview I think.You’ve done a fantastic job so it’s good to finish on sucha positive note.SteffiThanks Peter, I really enjoyed it.PeterThanks Steffi, and we’ll speak soon._______________________________________Take a look at PlayAble by visiting their site at: 57
  58. 58. Hamish Macdonald Hamish Macdonald is a passionate advocate, speaker, administrator, educationalist and leader in the field of sport for people with disability. Now in the ‘veteran’ athlete category, he has represented Australia in a number of Paralympic Games and World Championships in athletics. Hamish currently works for the Australian Sports Commission in an Assistant Director role, combining that with his many athletic commitments. He is a skilled educator and has been instrumental in designing and delivering education programs that have gone all over the world. He has organized and delivered on many disability education workshops across Australia and overseas, including Asia, the South Pacific, the Caribbean and Africa. 58
  59. 59. Hamish manages to combine an in-depth knowledge ofhigh performance sport with an acute understanding ofthe issues facing community participation, all with a keensense of humor and enthusiasm. 59
  60. 60. PeterWhat do you understand by inclusion in sport andphysical activity for people with disability?HamishI think it is all the things we know. Providingopportunities for people to have the choice to participatein parts of the community that they want to participate in.Its about reducing the barriers, whether these areperceived barriers or real barriers.The work of inclusion, is identifying what the barriers areand then doing the work collaboratively, so that everyonehas a sense of ownership about reducing those barriers.PeterCan you give us an example of what a barrier might be?HamishSome of the biggest barriers are the attitudinal barriers.On both sides of the fence. The attitudes of the persontrying to access sport, these can be huge barriers.Whether they are barriers of the people themselves, or 60
  61. 61. the people that facilitate the opportunity, such as theirfamily members or care providers.Then there are the attitudes of the community moregenerally, they can be huge barriers too.PeterIf you want to break down these barriers, how do youinfluence peoples’ attitudes?HamishImmersion. I think people can only understand somethingby being immersed in it. The immersion really has tohappen in a non-deliberate way so that it is just part oflife. People cant be expected to understand somethingthey have never experienced. Any type of immersion isvaluable. The opportunity to explore what that immersionexperience was about, in a discussion format so thatpeople can discuss what their experience was like, thishelps people shape how they think. 61
  62. 62. PeterDo you think that this immersion, this experience andexposure to disability for the first time, can be negativeand positive?HamishYes, if it is done in a controlled way, then it has to bedone very carefully and in a non-deliberate way, oralmost incidental way. When weve seen this process, forexample, helping people experience disability by usingwheelchairs, then this can have a negative impact onlonger term attitudes. But if you are able to immersesomeone in the experience of disability in a non-deliberate way, then you can positively influenceattitudes.Its almost like people are doing it, are experiencing it,without calling it a particular thing, and then it becomespart of their everyday behavior.PeterSo, its trying to influence everyday behavior? 62
  63. 63. HamishYes, absolutely, its influencing everyday behavior in anon-labeled and non-deliberate way. The difficulty here,as educators, is that you have to actually be quitedeliberate in how you do that.PeterAs educators then, are there ways of speeding thatprocess up?HamishI think there are. I think effective inclusion is likelearning a language. For example, if you are taughtJapanese all your life, but never have the opportunity touse it, then it is of limited value. So, the typical educationprocess for learning a language is that you aredeliberately exposed to it as part of a school curriculum.Then you have to make a choice as an adult to carry thaton or not, 99% of people dont, so their understanding ofthe language is limited to what they can remember from along time ago.So, the way people get exposed to inclusion is important,as is the way people go about finding practical solutions. 63
  64. 64. Its the opportunities that people have to put it intopractice that is important. Unless they have an immediateand ongoing opportunity to put it into practice then it canbe lost. So, as educators, whatever behavioral change youare trying to make should focus on deliberate andongoing exposure to that situation.Thats a tough thing to try to do, to put people in front ofpeople with disabilities on an ongoing basis.PeterHow do you develop a sense of ownership aroundinclusion then?HamishTo me it has to be success. You have to build youroutcome to be a success. If the overall outcome of beinginclusive is success, this is a global outcome rather thanan individual outcome that says "if we behave this waythen Peter is going to be included more effectively". If itis a global outcome then people will start to own it.The challenge here is that if everyone owns it then it isnobodys responsibility. There has to be a balance 64
  65. 65. between collective ownership and individualresponsibility here. The overall outcome is the mostimportant, but so is individual responsibility.PeterSo the overall outcome, inclusion, becomes just everydaypractice. Its the way people do things.HamishYes, its a culture. It isnt about attending a one offeducation session and ticking a box and feeling that youhave done your bit. Its about what we want to feel likewhen we come to work everyday, and what do we wantto feel like we are achieving by living this culture. So insome ways, it has to be an internal choice. Not somethingthat we can tick off and say we have done. So this is agrey space to work in, but in many ways there are moretangible outcomes in the long term.The effect will be that people have better experiences andmake choices to come back and revisit that activity ororganization. The culture will attract you rather than youcoming back for your own personal experience. 65
  66. 66. PeterHow far are we away from achieving that?HamishOh, we are miles from that happening! But there aresome shining examples of when that approach is taken itcan work. Its difficult to describe, but on the one handyou know exactly what you want to do, and on the otheryou do not want to portray thats what you are doing.You, kind of, dont want to label it an inclusive activity.PeterSo again, if we are teaching about inclusion, we need tobe conscious of the broader goals of doing things thisway?HamishIt is a kind of covert operation. For every piece of workthats labeled an inclusive activity, then theres always100 other bits of work that go on below it. People need tofeel attached to what you are doing, if they are not, theyare not going to be attracted to it. 66
  67. 67. Whatever service or activity you are offering, if peoplecannot see themselves already there, then they areunlikely to come back through the door.PeterIts like an incidental effect of inclusion. To put in placethings that cause the incidental effect of inclusion.HamishBecause it is covert. Which is an effective way to do it.Its a real skill to teach this.PeterWhat do you think then, are the major challenges ofembedding that kind of approach into the practices of aregular sports coach, who has never worked with aperson with a disability before?HamishThe challenges are that you are working with someonewith little experience and who is structured around therules of sport. There is also too much busy work thathappens within a local sporting environment. Someonehas to run the kitchen or look after first aid. So the longer 67
  68. 68. term softer stuff has to be embedded into everyone’sbusiness. And someone needs to take responsibility forthis, for embedding inclusive practice into everyone’sbusiness.Its messy, but for it to be everyone’s business thensomeone has to make it everyone’s business. Someonehas to be clever enough to do this so that it doesnt looklike an obligation and it’s not a course that you begin andcomplete and understand, and therefore dont need to doanymore. So theres a danger with a deliberate andspecific education process, that it’s easy to say "yes, Ivedone that, therefore I am inclusive". So in order for it tobe ongoing, it has to be in the subconscious. So for it tobe there, there must be someone that is outside the busyspace dedicated to putting it into the subconscious.Those people are rare, and those people that are capableof doing it well are often not available at a local level.PeterIts a funny irony, you want to teach about inclusion butyou dont want to at the same time! 68
  69. 69. HamishYes. And there is a place for teaching about inclusionbecause you need an initial level of exposure. You needthe people waving the big flag saying “this is what youneed to learn”. But the challenge, after that initialexposure, is to embed it. And the only way to do that isfor people to live it when they go back to where theyoperate. So it needs someone clever enough to embedinclusion into the day-to-day operations of anorganization.PeterExcellent. I think we will leave it there Hamish. I reallyappreciate your time and thoughts here. Thanks verymuch.HamishNot a problem - thanks. 69
  70. 70. Thanks to our contributors to What Is Inclusion?If you have read this book and you are not a member of The Inclusion Club, then wethink you have enough interest to join. It’s free and takes a couple of minutes. You can sign up here: 70