Through participation in sport and active recreational activities, people with a disability can be assisted in the development of a sense of self-worth, self-esteem and pride in accomplishment and overcome loneliness and isolation. They are able to develop a sense of belonging to the community and are linked to a range of cultural and social experiences common to all members of the community. Sport and active recreation can be a key medium for creating new relationships among different social groups.

Sport and recreation is as much a part of Australian culture as Vegemite and the koala. Participants are involved in sport and recreation from a very early age, playing backyard games, school sport and programs with local sporting/recreation clubs or organisations. The benefits of regular sport and recreation programs are essentially the same for people with a disability. People who are physically active:

• Are healthier and fitter
• Are more co-ordinated and physically competent
• Often develop good social and people skills
• Develop leadership, teamwork and sound co-operative skills
• Work well and enjoy people’s company
• Learn better lifelong leisure skills
• Study and concentrate better
• Have increased confidence and self-esteem and
• Are more mobile and independent.

If people with a disability are denied these experiences, simply because of their physical and/or intellectual difference to some perceived norm, then they will miss out on an important part of life.

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