Singapore has been making progressive moves towards expanding access for persons with disabilities to participate in sports. Late last year, it was announced that five Centres of Expertise in disability sports would be set up across Singapore, in locations such as Jurong West and Toa Payoh. These centres are intended to provide enhanced barrier-free access and sports programmes tailored for people with disabilities.
In time to come, there will be inclusive gyms within these centres, with fitness equipment suitable for all users.
As part of a bigger plan, the disability sports ecosystem will also involve voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs), hospitals and rehabilitation centres, to introduce sport as part of the rehabilitation and recovery process. Stretching to cover schools, teachers should be eventually equipped to run adapted and inclusive Physical Education lessons to enable students with disabilities to participate in sports.
Do you also know that there is an official body overseeing sports for the disabled? The Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) is a voluntary organisation registered with the Commissioner of Charities, formed to promote, through sports, the well-being of the disabled in Singapore, helping them to live full and independent lives.
In Singapore, the number of disabled individuals stands at 4% of our population, falling within the main categories of physical impairment, vision impairment, hearing impairment and intellectual impairment. According to SDSC’s website, the disabled in Singapore are supported by about 186 organisations including special schools and voluntary welfare organisations. Of the 186, only 11 provide some form of sports to the disabled and almost all cater to persons of a specific disability only.
If you think the types of sports are restricted for this group, you will be pleasantly surprised – find out the variety of sports made available to participants here.
The kids are not forgotten, as there is also a section on kids inclusive sports. SDSC endeavours to discover the unique abilities of every kid and help integrate them into the future through sports.
If you are keen to play a part, get involved as a volunteer or even have your organisation involved in a corporate programme. Find out more here.