The participation of people with intellectual disability in Parasports
Burns, J. 2020. The participation of people with intellectual disability in Parasports. Journal of Paralympic Research Group. 13, pp. 41-59.
Engagement in sport is a very important way of developing and maintaining healthy lives. This is even more the case for people with intellectual disabilities. This paper describes how intellectual disabilities impact on both the physical and psychosocial welfare of the affected individuals and their families, and how this might be ameliorated by involvement in sport. It also describes the main three organisations involved in delivering sport for this population, the Special Olympics, VIRTUS (previously known as INAS) and the Paralympics, their functions and their relationships. A short history and description is provided about how eligibility and classification has evolved and is currently managed in these organisations. Having set out the increased need in terms of potential poor physical health, social exclusion and psychological vulnerabilities, the paper reviews some of the proven positive impacts sport can bring to these individuals and their families. These include improved fitness, reducing secondary health risks such as obesity and heart disease; improved friendship networks and social inclusion; improved psychological factors such as self-esteem and subjective well-being. The impact on families is also considered in terms of decreased isolation and a sense of community for family members. At the societal level, how large-scale sporting events such as the Paralympics, involving athletes with intellectual disabilities, might impact on the attitudes of the viewing public is described. Finally, the Tokyo Paralympics is considered in terms of its potential to change social attitude and promote social inclusion for this population.
|Keywords||Intellectual disability; Parasport; Paralympics; Disability; Sport|
|Journal||Journal of Paralympic Research Group|
|Journal citation||13, pp. 41-59|
|Publisher||The Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Center|
|Online||06 Mar 2020|
|Publication process dates|
|Accepted||02 Dec 2019|
|Deposited||06 Dec 2019|
|Accepted author manuscript|
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