The Activity Alliance has released new research entitled Taking part with disabled people: Non-disabled people’s perceptions which explores the attitudes non-disabled people hold in regards to participating alongside disabled people in sport and physical activity.
The research, which is the result of an online survey conducted with more than 2,000 non-disabled adults, focused on the concept of inclusive activity, in which disabled and non-disabled people take part together, examining respondents’ perceptions and experiences.
The findings present a varied picture, indicating non-disabled people’s perceptions could be preventing them from taking part in this mixed setting:
- Three quarters (73%) of non-disabled people were open to the idea of taking part in sport or active recreation with disabled people.
- Non-disabled people recognised the positive impact taking part in inclusive activities could have on themselves.
- The top-three benefits mentioned were that they could learn more about disabled people (60%), meet new groups of people (57%) and feel more comfortable around disabled people (44%).
Although the results show welcome signs of improvement, ingrained perceptions are creating barriers in changing the reality of disability, inclusion and sport.
Taking part with disabled people: Non-disabled people’s perceptions responds with three recommendations and required actions for sport, leisure and other sectors, which could help to ensure that non-disabled people feel able and willing to participate alongside disabled people.
- Increase public awareness of disabled people, especially in relation to being active. This must aim to challenge perceptions and create a more accurate and diverse picture of active disabled people among their non-disabled peers.
- Embed inclusivity in many more opportunities so disabled and non-disabled people can be active together.
- Celebrate and share experiences of inclusive activity with representation for all impairment groups.
British Blind Sport Chief Executive, Alaina MacGregor commented:
“At British Blind Sport, we welcome the findings of this research and support the recommendations to embed inclusivity to help break down barriers within sport. By raising awareness of disability sport, we aim to reinforce the positive sporting environment for people living with sight loss. BBS regularly share stories from our members who frequently defy expectations to achieve amazing things in sport - by any standards. Not only do these stories help to break down some of the barriers people living with disabilities face when approaching a new activity, but also inspire others to reject negative perceptions.”