Celebrating World Autism Day: Inclusion in sport, recreation and physical education for people with autism and developmental disability.

Celebrating World Autism Day: Inclusion in sport, recreation and physical education for people with autism and developmental disability.

The Sport Inclusion Community of Practice Presents: Celebrating World Autism Day: Inclusion in sport, recreation and physical education for people with autism and developmental disability.

Sport and Recreation Victoria hosted this free event to recognise World Autism Awareness/Acceptance Day. The forum was part professional development and part celebration, with the opportunity to learn from local experts in well-being, social skills, mental health and inclusion in sport.

Together, we also celebrate the impact, persistence, dedication and drive that people with autism, their families and coaches have had in creating more inclusive, welcoming and safe environments for everybody. The forum introduced local researchers Dr Stephen Edwards and Kieran Thorpe from Federation University whose research focuses on well-being, mental health and the development of social skills for people with developmental disability and their families. The evidence base was followed by practical skills, strategies and experiences shared by Kellie Tait, Founder of AAA Ballarat and Elise Muller, Founder of Active Support.

The combination of an evidence base built on research with practical strategies shared by people with plenty of lived experience on and off the playing field appealed to a diverse audience.
When and where was it?
Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019
Phoenix College, Hertford Street, Sebastopol VIC 3356
About the speakers
Elise Muller, Founder Active Support (www.activesupport.co). Elise is a proud Aboriginal Australian on the autism spectrum. Elise is passionate about taking her experience being bullied and excluded in school to improve the education system for the next generation. Elise found her connection with the world through her passion of sport, representing Australia in football and now playing for Essendon. At 21, Elise has a wealth of experience mentoring young people on the Spectrum and has created a platform for people with a disability to access recreational play through her Personal Training and Mentoring organisation ‘Active Support.’ proving with an enabling approach, disability is never an excuse for exclusion. Read more about Elise and Active Support at http://activesupport.co/about-elise-muller/.

Kellie Tait, Founder of AAA Sports Ballarat (www.aaasportsballarat.org.au). Kellie, like many other parents took her son who has autism to mainstream sports. Kellie’s son was overwhelmed by the size of the group and experienced bullying. Since starting AAA Sports Ballarat Kellie has become well-known in the sport inclusion field leading an AFL Blind team through an undefeated season and coaching the Victorian Cricket team in the National Inclusion Carnival. Kellie will present her key strategies to support inclusion on the field which can be applied in the community or in school. Kellie will share her experiences as a parent, coach and now AFL Victoria Game Development Officer. You can hear more about Kellie’s background in the ‘Every Mother Is a Legend’ podcast https://soundcloud.com/troysimmonds/kellie-tait-aaa-sports-ballarat-fou…

Kieran Thorpe, Federation University. Kieran’s research expertise is in the field of neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism and A DHD. His recent research has examined the happiness of Australians’ through the lens of autism.
Dr Stephen Edwards, Federation University. Steve’s research at Fed Uni has looked at how people with autism develop and maintain social skills. Steve has also led research focused on mental health for people with autism and neurodevelopmental conditions.

Shawn Stevenson, Sport and Recreation Victoria. Shawn will MC the forum and facilitate the panel discussion. Shawn has recently completed a Masters with Deakin University and AFL Victoria focusing on the barriers, facilitators and benefits children with developmental disability experience when participating in Auskick. Shawn now oversees the delivery of 15 projects focused on autism inclusion in sport across Victoria. Shawn will connect the key topics of well-being, mental health, activity based socialisation and strategies for inclusion in sport and PE with the speakers from an evidence base to practical inclusion strategies.

As always the event was live streamed on AAA Play with the aim of increase accessibility to information for those who couldn't make the evening in person.