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It's not a real sport if you have to adapt it

Let's call time on negative perceptions about disability, inclusion, and sport. 

Join the Who says? movement. Watch this film and access positive stories, resources, and guidance to challenge perceptions.   

Watch it’s not a real sport if you have to adapt it film

It's not a real sport if you have to adapt it film transcript
View Who says? campaign phase one accessible communication formats

Who Says? Campaign LogoFor far too long disabled people have faced misconceptions and presumptions on what is and isn’t possible, including in sport. It's time to move the conversations on, open people's minds and shift out-dated views on disability. 

Launched on 15 July 2019, phase one of Who says? gave people the positive stories, resources, and guidance to replace these negative ideas. The campaign films focus on six perceptions and provide upbeat insight from a mixture of disabled and non-disabled people.  

The first phase of the campaign was created in response to Activity Alliance’s Taking part with disabled people: perceptions research, which explored non-disabled people’s attitudes on inclusive activity. The findings show a lack of understanding could be causing long-lasting barriers for disabled people. For the least active audience in our country, people’s attitudes can make or break activity experiences.

This page responds to Activity Alliance's research and insight on the perception – It's not a real sport if you have to adapt it.

What do we know?

Insight from our 2019 research report – Taking part with disabled people

  • One in five (20%) non-disabled people were concerned that disabled people taking part with non-disabled people may impact the team dynamic.
  • One in six (16%) non-disabled people felt it would lower the overall standard of the club’s/team’s performance.

Insight from our 2019 research report – Delivering activity to disabled people

  • Inexperienced deliverers were much more likely to feel that inclusive sessions would change the fundamental nature of their sport (56% vs 31%). They also felt inclusive sessions would negatively impact non-disabled participants (43% vs 13%). 

Calling time on this perception

As it shows above, it is not unusual for you or your organisation to think that it’s not a real sport if you have to adapt it. What’s important is your enthusiasm to change this belief and Activity Alliance with our members have ways to support you on this journey.

Who says? empowers people, on and off the field of play, to challenge their own and other's perceptions.

In reality, all sports have adaptions for all participants, not just disabled people. That’s the beautiful nature of sport that everyone has a chance to take part. These sports may get tighter in standards and rules if an athlete’s talent develops. But this should not prevent a club or organisation from giving greater access to the sports at grassroots level. Not everyone wants to be an elite athlete.

Inclusive Activity Programme

Sign-up for our Inclusive Activity Programme. It will equip you with the skills to engage disabled people and people with long-term health conditions more effectively in activities. Funded by Sport England's National Lottery, Activity Alliance is working with UK Coaching.

Find out more about Inclusive Activity Programme 

Inclusive PE eLearning Portal 

Sainsbury's Active Kids for All Inclusive PE Training Portal provides free eLearning resources for teachers and school staff. The interactive modules will support you to improve your confidence, knowledge, and skills to include, challenge, and progress all pupils by embedding inclusive practice in your lessons. 

Sign up to access free inclusive PE eLearning resources  

National Disability Sports Organisations

The National Disability Sports Organisations (NDSOs) are a good starting point for advice, support and opportunities. They can provide useful information on adapting sports for people of all ages with specific impairments.

The eight NDSOs are: British Blind Sport, Cerebral Palsy Sport, Dwarf Sports Association UK, LimbPower, Mencap, Special Olympics Great Britain, UK Deaf Sport and WheelPower.

Find out more about the NDSOs here

Call time on negative perceptions with us

Taking the conversation beyond the #WhoSays hashtag is important to us. It’s crucial we talk honestly and openly about matters that affect disabled people’s activity, like policy, funding and promotion. We hope the campaign leads to bigger conversations, greater collaboration and wider systemic responses.

If your organisation would like to get involved, has a story to share or you have a great idea for the campaign, please contact or call 0161 228 2868. We have a range of digital supporter materials available for organisations and the media to use. 

Who says we can’t change this perception and more? Thank you for your support. 

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