Special Olympics launch Inclusive Sport Academy

Monday 28 February 2022 | Special Olympics Australia has today announced the launch of a new online learning platform, Inclusive Sport Academy, to help enhance skills and abilities within the sector to deliver sporting programs for people with intellectual disabilities or autism.

The new platform builds on the previous online platform which saw more than 5,500 users undertake courses and will provide a tailored, user-friendly learning experience for people with intellectual disabilities, teachers, coaches, tertiary students, and allied health professionals.

Pierre Comis, Chief Executive Officer at Special Olympics Australia, said “We are really excited for the launch of Inclusive Sport Academy and what it means for people with intellectual disabilities or autism and those within the sport, education, and health industries who support them.

“The Academy will provide students with easy access to a valuable new digital experience and allow us to meet the growth in demand for the evolving online learning environment. It provides a bespoke destination with resources, courses, video, and workshops.

“Importantly, content was developed with a cohort of Special Olympics Athlete Leaders to ensure people with intellectual disabilities or autism had a voice on the platform. We want to ensure that our online learning platform drives meaningful outcomes for people with intellectual disabilities or autism, becomes an integral component of disability sports education, and provides more opportunities for people to develop skills, grow, learn and lead,” said Pierre Comis.

With recent partnership agreements between Special Olympics Australia and organisations such as Tennis Australia, NRL, and AFL, Inclusive Sport Academy will help national sporting organisations improve inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities or autism with coach development training.

“Feedback from sector partners on the resources has been overwhelmingly positive and has indicated that courses and learning materials we have developed are highly valued and are having an impact at community level.

“Courses and content in the Inclusive Sport Academy provide students with the basic principles, techniques and tools to effectively coach, teach and guide people with intellectual disabilities or autism. Education and professional development of coaches and teachers is necessary for all sporting clubs and schools. People with intellectual disabilities or autism deserve the most knowledgeable guidance from people who are trained, who can access sport-specific coaching guides and rules, who provide the safest environment in which to train and compete, and who receive ongoing education,” Pierre Comis continued.

The Academy will be supporting ongoing development and expansion of knowledge with future sport specific resources such as visual aid cards, social stories, coach profiles and a video series to support coaches to effectively deliver sporting programs which meet the unique needs of people with intellectual disabilities or autism.

A series of dedicated courses aimed at fostering the development of physical literacy will be available in April 2022 and later in the year Special Olympics volunteers will be able to complete a free online volunteer induction on the platform.

Initial courses in Inclusive Sport Academy include:

  • Improving sport for people with intellectual disabilities
  • An introduction to autism spectrum disorder
  • Young athletes coaching course
  • Creating a positive experience in gymnastics for participants with autism

“Special Olympics Australia’s Inclusive Sport Academy will be an important knowledge base, hosting resources which can be applied across all disciplines of sport and physical literacy and will be critical in the continuous development of supporters of people with intellectual disabilities or autism,” Pierre Comis concluded.

Access Inclusive Sport Academy via: https://www.inclusivesportacademy.com.au


About Special Olympics Australia

Special Olympics Australia strives to ensure that everyone living with an intellectual disability can participate in sport. We provide:

  • Weekly grassroots sporting, recreational, social and health activities in local communities around Australia.
  • An environment where people with an intellectual disability can develop physical fitness, build self-esteem, demonstrate courage, and make friends.
  • Competition pathways ranging from weekly club events, to regional, state, and national games, culminating in the Special Olympics World Games.