Here are some simple tips for coaches to ensure that children with physical disabilities who might use mobility aids like wheelchairs, crutches or walkers, can play NAB AFL Auskick.
Consider the surface. Sometimes the Auskick oval can be too muddy for wheelchairs or other mobility aids. Consider running the session or activities using other surfaces like the car park or clubrooms so that the kids using mobility aids can play too.
Even out the playing field. Have one child in a wheelchair on each team. Having access to wheelchairs will assist with this as well as giving able bodied children an opportunity to get a true sense of what it’s like to have a disability.
Think of different ways to play. Allow children in a wheelchair to carry the football between two points instead of kicking. Even think about using a different shape ball if it makes it easier.
Think about how you’ll be able to have good eye contact with kids that might be at a lower height, say in a wheelchair. You might need to kneel down or even sit on a bench.
Create lots of different roles so that everyone can be involved. Some kids mightn’t want to play. They might want to be the assistant coach. They might want to be the umpire. They might want to be the scorer. They could even want to be the announcer.
Remember, every child has the right to be involved in sport, especially a sport like Australian Football. Including children with disabilities is not hard; it just requires understanding.