New research shows significant activity gap between disabled and non-disabled children

By GreaterSport | 19 March 2020 | TAGS: Children and young people, inclusive, research


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Activity Alliance have released new research exploring the relationship the children and young people with disabilities have with sport and physical activity. With almost one million disabled children in England it is important understand their activity levels as well as their perceptions surrounding physical activity; by better understanding their experiences we can help provide opportunities for them and include them in physical activity whilst promoting inclusion early in life, helping to develop positive, lifelong habits.

The research found that 1/3 of disabled children achieved less than 30 minutes of physical activity a day, the Chief Medical Officer recommends children and young people achieve a minimum of 60 minutes a day. Furthermore, by Key Stage 4 disabled young people are significantly less likely to be active compared to their non-disabled peers (52% v 72%) and 20% stated they do not like PE, just 9% of non-disabled children share this view. It is also concerning to find that disabled children are twice as likely to be lonely (72% v 36%) and this increases with age. 

The report has four key recommendations for engaging disabled children with sport and physical activity:

  1. Engage with and listen to all children
  2. Build confidence and independence from a young age
  3. Engage leaders on the need for inclusion and show them how to create comfortable environments
  4. Support and encourage parents to help their child to live an active life

"This research further highlights the need for greater opportunities and support for disabled children and young people but we are pleased that in a number of areas disabled children are likely to participate on a similar level to their peers. This research reflects a number of our practices such as with the School Games which through a number of changes made this year to support more new young people to access the programme. The changes we've made provide disabled young people to participate with others with disabilities through SEND events whilst also ensuring out BEE Proud competitions are fully inclusive." Francesca Speakman, Development Manager (Start and Develop Well)

Find out more about the research here.

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