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Profiling disabled beginners in sport

Since the Games, many have shown interest in the Disability Sport Events established profile system for disabled people in classroom or grassroots sport as well as multi-sports clubs. The categories mean those who are starting out in sport can be given a profile number. It enables teachers, physios as well as other supporters to group disabled participants with mixed impairments in participation opportunities- to compete fairly at beginner level. It has been used for many years in the Disability Sport Events programme, including the Festivals of Sport, as a quick means to take part in group sport.

The Profile System was devised by Dr Christine Meaden M.C.S.P., Ph.D for Disability Sport Events in 1985.

Not every disabled child or adult will want or can go on to elite level sport participation. The DSE Profile System recognises disabled people need access to sport whatever level they wish to take part. With many disabled children attending mainstream schools now, the Profile System is an ideal way to ensure everyone can enjoy sport.

At grass roots, or sports club level, the specialisation of sport-specific classification is impractical and unnecessary when using the Profile System at beginner level. If the impairment is measured and a profile allocated, the competitor can be categorised for any sport s/he uses chooses. The assessment of a profile type followed by grouping of profiles in a standard way avoids the need for specialist sports knowledge for all assessors.

The categories have always used stick men for ease of use and since its development, it has been recognised worldwide, as well as in various sports. In 2008, Dr Meaden received the Nationwide Lifetime Achievement Award for her commitment to disabled people in sport- namely devising a system which would be instrumental in grassroots development.

Dr Meaden also aided the charity to create a training course for teachers and Physios to learn how to use the system at a local level.

As well as adopted for many Disability Sport Events participation opportunities, the Profile System was used for the Paralympic Equestrian in Sydney and Athens. It is currently being refreshed and updated, while Disability Sport Events turns it in to a toolkit. Then, many more teachers and coaches can use the system to increase participation.

To receive more information on the toolkit when it is completed- contact Jamie Blair