Sporting Clubs & Associations suitable for children with Special Needs

Participation in sports is very good for children and adolescents with special needs. This can easily be transformed into a life-long hobby to keep them active, just like all of us. We have compiled a list of sports organisations that you may be interested in letting your child give a go.

Read time: 7 mins

Sporting Clubs & Associations suitable for children with Special Needs

Participation in sports is very good for children and adolescents with special needs. This can easily be transformed into a life-long hobby to keep them active, just like all of us. We have compiled a list of sports organisations that you may be interested in letting your child give a go.

Read time: 7 mins

If you contact any of the below organisations, be sure to ask for more information for children and adolescents with special needs. They may have different sessions specifically for these children and adolescents.

Disability Sports Australia

Disability Sports Australia (DSA) is an Australia’s peak national body representing athletes with a physical disability. Formerly known as Australian Athletes with a Disability, it changed its name to Disability Sports Australia in 2013. The change reflects a contemporary evolution and vital work achieved in engaging people across Australia from the grass roots to elite paralympians who compete or work in sporting endeavours of all abilities.

Activate Inclusion Sports Day across NSW

What are Activate Inclusion Sports Days (AISD): Activate Inclusion Sports Days (AISD) are one day programs designed to promote the pathways for inclusion sport and active recreation programs in local community areas and encourage students with a disability to participate in community sport and active recreation on a regular basis. AISD started in 2016 by Sport NSW, collaborating with local councils, state sporting organisations, universities, NDIS and government partners. 

Who can participate in the days: Students (aged 5 to 18) with a physical, intellectual or sensory disabilities, as well as learning difficulties are able to participate in the days.

They run these programs throughout the year at difference venues. Please check on their website for more details.

National Referral Hub

The National Referral Hub is an easy to use, self-service and referral hub to help all abilities athletes find the support they need to participate and compete in sport and active recreation activities.

For participants: Players and aspiring players will be able to look up support providers, therapists and inclusive sporting clubs to support their active goals. For those that need a little extra assistance, Disability Sports Australia is working with Occupational Therapists Australia, Exercise and Sports Science Australia, the Australian Physiotherapy Association and Sports Medicine Australia to ensure that their details can be referred to the dedicated team of health professionals to link families with the local sporting groups and support providers them need to get active.

You can get on the website and fill in a simple registration form to get started.

Cerebral Palsy Sporting And Recreation Association NSW Inc

Cerebral Palsy Sport & Recreation Association NSW (CPSARA) aim to encourage both sporting and recreational opportunities for people of all ages with cerebral palsy and other neurological conditions. CPSARA are dedicated to supporting children, adults and their families with cerebral palsy by providing sporting opportunities and leisure activities with an emphasis on inclusion and enjoyment. The association supports athletes on their sporting journeys, firstly by providing information and tools to help connect athletes with cerebral palsy with their chosen sport and thereafter by connecting them with fellow athletes and the latest events.

The CPSARA membership is now $35 per year or $90 for a 3-year membership. All 3-year memberships include a free gift.

A member can access the following updates:

  • Information on disability sport options & rules
  • How to get started with a sport including registration
  • How does classification work?
  • Upcoming competitions and information on how to enter
  • Recognition of members sporting achievements
  • Invites to recreational & sporting events
  • Latest sporting news & results from competitions
  • Mentor Program – un by experienced athletes for new athletes
  • Mentor Program – for parents
  • Athletes Profile – A member of CPSARA will share a personal experience monthly
  • Coaching and Health Professional recommendations
  • Idea of the Month – each month we’ll share an idea of interest

They run programs for athletics, soccer, swimming and cycling. You need to be a member and be classified before you can enrol into any of the sports team.

Sydney Bowmen Archery Club

Sydney Bowmen Archery Club is a family and disability friendly club made up of children, women and men of all ages and nationalities. The Club was formed around 1937, making it the longest running archery club in Australia.

They only shoot on Sundays. Club members generally start shooting from about 9:00am – 3:00pm. Come-N-Try and other casual shooters shoot from 10:15am – 12:30pm.

First time attendees are required to be there by 10:15am to enable them to participate in the short introductory course which starts at 10:30am. No pre-booking is required. However, if you have a party of 5 or more attending, prior notice through the club’s secretary is advised.

The Club is located at Latham Park on Moverly Road, Coogee. They provide the usual amenities, with refreshments including bottled water, available for purchase. All necessary archery equipment is provided by the Club.

The Club is able to accommodate disabled archers and there is wheelchair access. You need to contact the Club Secretary in the first instance via email: [email protected]

New member applications and membership renewals are processed via Archery Australia. Membership fees are $128.42 for adults and $92.76 for children. Discounts for family groups are available.

Sydney Olympic Park Archery

Para Archery Development Team- working with the National Para Coach, Ricci Cheah, this program aims to develop para archers for national and international competitions. It is open to all para archers of all ages, abilities and skill level. Ricci will work with archers on technique and mental mindset along with getting them ready for competitions.

The activity takes place in the Sydney Olympic Park Archery Centre, Bennelong Parkway, Sydney Olympic Park. You need to contact [email protected] for more details.

Randwick City Football Club

Randwick City Football Club runs a program for footballers with a disability. The team are called the Purple Hearts and were formed out of a vision to be an inclusive club that uses the power of sport to promote friendship, commitment and team spirit.

There are two teams, juniors (aged 8-13) and seniors (14+). The Purple Hearts program is open to any disability, however players must be able to follow instructions and have basic social interaction skills.

Games including gala days are organised throughout the year. The emphasis is on having fun. Their coaches use simple drills to teach the basics of the game.

Training sessions are held at Matraville Sports High School. The juniors train from 4.45-5.30pm and the seniors from 5.30-6.30pm. The program is free.

Please contact Ben Folino, Program Director on 0419 973 631 or email [email protected] for more details.

Riding For The Disabled Association (NSW)

RDA (NSW) is a volunteer organisation providing equine assisted activities for people with disabilities to develop and enhance abilities. Riders are assessed prior to commencing riding so that a suitable individual program can be developed for each person. Some riders are assisted initially by up to two trained helpers and a leader. Many graduate to riding independently and some to competition level.

Riders must have consent from their doctor before being commencing in the program and this will need to be updated on a regular basis.

There are strict safety standards in RDA (NSW). Riders are required to wear helmets for horse riding and horse-related activities as well as correct footwear. These are often provided by the centres. Special equipment is occasionally used however RDA (NSW) attempts to keep conditions as close to natural as possible to encourage the riders to achieve a good position through the use of their own body. 

RDA centres in NSW Metropolitan areas are:

Fill in an enquiry form on their website to get started.

Making Waves Foundation (MWF)

Making Waves Foundation (MWF) formerly Sailors with disABILITIES (SWD) is an Australian registered not-for-profit organisation that, through sailing, becomes a catalyst for change in people’s lives. They offer life-changing opportunities to children, youth and adults with disabilities and those at a disadvantage to drive a more optimistic outlook for personal growth and improved life outcomes. 

They use sailing as a tool to build confidence, self-esteem and new relationships. Through sailing, people start to forget about what they can’t do and focus on what they can. The organisation provides free sailing and training programs for people with a disability, disadvantaged children and adults, and their carers.

The Winds of Joy program offers sailing opportunities to children with disabilities. For many it’s a small step on the journey towards accepting their circumstances and believing they can achieve more. The program is free as the organisation relies solely on donations. 

The Winds of Care program offers carers and families of people with a disability or disadvantage the chance to take a bit of time out for themselves while on a relaxing harbour sail. It is a good chance to network with other carers too.

Contact details:

The Disabled Surfers Association Of Australia

The DSAA provides opportunities for everyone, including participants with disabilities and able-bodied volunteers, to experience an unique, safe and happy surfing events, whilst under complete supervision from their trained Team Leaders and Beach Marshalls.

DSA Participant membership is $20 per year. Once you are a member, you are able to attend any and all 18 branch events. Additionally, there can be several ‘members only’ events held throughout the year. You need to contact these staff to show your interest.

President: Shane Henn

Secretary: George Mastrovasili

Treasurer: Ange Kirkbride

Boccia NSW

Boccia is a precision ball sport, similar to bocce and related to bowls and pétanque, but with its own rules. It is played indoors, recreationally and competitively, at a local, national and international level by athletes with disabilities.

If you attend regular club sessions or compete in any Boccia competitions supported by Boccia Australia or Boccia NSW you need to become a member. All coaches, referees, sports assistants and volunteers need to become members. Membership is currently free and runs from season to season.

Back to school means back to Boccia! The Friday Junior Boccia club will meet after school at Cerebral Palsy Alliance. This session specifically targets junior players, to come and play with some other young people after school hours. Contact [email protected] for more details.

If you’d like to discuss your child’s needs with our expert team of therapists, we offer a free 15 minute pre-consultation with one of our senior physiotherapists, where we can discuss which of our services would best assist you and what the next steps will include.

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