What is Mobility?

Mobility describes the way a person moves or gets around. A child with mobility challenges may use mobility aids such as crutches, ankle or leg supports, a walking frame, or a wheelchair.

Some kids may have a physical disability that impacts their mobility, such as kids with spinal cord injury who use a wheelchair. Some kids may have developmental or neurological disorders, such as cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury (e.g. following a stroke), or spina bifida, which can affect their mobility.

What might be some challenges on the footy field?

Kids may move in different ways and use aids (e.g. crutches, frames, wheelchairs) to help them move on the footy field.

Consider the environment

  • Consider the surface for kids who use mobility aids (e.g., crutches, walking frames, wheelchairs): When the footy oval is too muddy or not appropriate for wheelchair access consider running the session or some session activities using an alternate surface like the car park or clubrooms so that kids who use wheelchairs can play too. You could even talk to your local council about making the footy oval more accessible.
  • Consider playing indoors in bad weather: Bad weather (rain, too hot, too cold, too stormy) might make it hard for some kids to play outside. Consider finding a place indoors like the clubroom to run your sessions.

Consider the activity

  • Change the rules so everyone can play: Make changes to the rules where appropriate so everyone can play. For example, in wheelchair tennis, the ball can bounce twice before being hit. A handpass can be equivalent to a kick and an underarm through can be equivalent to a handpass.
  • Even out the playing field: Consider having one person in a wheelchair on the team opposite to the child in a wheelchair to equal out the playing field. This can give all kids an opportunity to get a true sense of what it’s like to have a physical disability.
  • Kids can carry the ball: Allow kids who use wheelchairs or mobility aids to carry or handpass the ball between the goal posts instead of kicking it.
  • Kids can use a different ball: Allow kids who use wheelchairs or mobility aids to use a different type of ball to enable them to play.
  • Let parents or siblings help: Parents and siblings know their child best. Getting them to help might encourage the child to get more involved and feel safer at play.

Consider your communication style

  • Make eye contact at the kids level: Think about how to have good eye contact for kids who may sit at a lower height such as in a wheelchair. You could kneel down or sit on a bench.

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