6. Planning for disabilities: What kind of infrastructure/facilities women/people with disabilities need to be encouraged/capable to do sport outdoors?

//6. Planning for disabilities: What kind of infrastructure/facilities women/people with disabilities need to be encouraged/capable to do sport outdoors?
6. Planning for disabilities: What kind of infrastructure/facilities women/people with disabilities need to be encouraged/capable to do sport outdoors? 2018-11-08T16:28:11+00:00

Homepage Forums SWUP exchange of practices 6. Planning for disabilities: What kind of infrastructure/facilities women/people with disabilities need to be encouraged/capable to do sport outdoors?

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  • Mihaela Onofras
    Keymaster
    Post count: 13

    Background information for the issue discussions :

    Two issues emerge when we talk about adapted sports or sports practice for disabled people: overcome prejudices and barriers. Both are inscribed in domains where change, always necessary, operates at different rates.

    Public entities in Portugal pay attention to disability and disable people, through the implementation of policies that include, besides social and community support, providing sports and leisure services, or designing cities through a friendly urbanism.

    Many achievements have been made, but there is still much work to do. It is still necessary to combat discrimination and particularly to fight against physical barriers that still persist as one of the problems that the new urban order places despite all the efforts being made in the opposite direction.

    The right to physical, psychological and social well-being must be respected by all, but, above all, must turns into a political priority for those who, by managing the destinies of communities, should be the first to ensure the protection of the most unprotected and fragile.

    Valuing and dignifying the disabled citizen, promoting their integration and inclusion in a broader way, also involves the design of a friendly city, also for the disabled.

    We cannot just focus our attention on the usability of spaces or facilities designing parks and sports facilities without reflecting about the impact these constructions may have on the lives of people with disabilities. Therefore, it is imperative to conceive a city as a unique space where all can live and enjoy without barriers or obstacles. The keyword must be accessibility.

    In Guimarães accessibility issues are underlying municipal policies to promote physical activity and leisure, however, we always believe that it is possible to improve and evolve.

    Thus, we propose to identify the barriers that people with disabilities face in accessing leisure parks or outdoor sports facilities and to propose recommendations to overcome the difficulties flagged. During this process we hope to involve the partners and stakeholders whom, in their daily lives, work with disabled citizens, so we can build, together, a better city and a city for all.

    So, at this point, we propose the following questions to debate:

    1. What kind of issues should a diagnostic tool include to identify barriers in the urban space and what items should be included?
    2. The design and construction of leisure and outdoor sports spaces should contemplate what kind of situations to be effectively accessible to all? Is it enough to eliminate physical barriers or are there other areas, namely, socially and culturally, that we need to intervene?
    3. In what way should we consider approaches adjusted to different disability conditions? we must design customized environments or simply promote accessibility as a characteristic?
    4. Will the development and adaptation of outdoor sports facilities be the best response to meet the needs of people with disabilities to develop sports activity?
    5. Should outdoor sports facilities be supported by specialized technicians or not?
    Paula
    Participant
    Post count: 8

    Different aspects (according the local reality – Guimarães, Portugal)
    ▪Physical deficiency > Domiciliation; Tends to escape monitoring
    ▪Mental disability > Institutionalization up to 100%
    ▪Adapted sport > Competition, leisure, therapeutic, education (only provided by institutions
    ▪Adapted physical activity > Physical activity and well-being (hiking, visits to leisure parks, swimming) – mainly provided by institutions

    Institutions like CERCIGUI (Education and Rehabilitation of disabled Citizens of Guimarães) and APCG (cerebral paralysis association of guimarães) provide all the support to disable people (in specific domains of disability: Down’s syndrome, cerebral paralysis etc.).
    In their daily routines these institutions guarantee education, health and therapy support, physical activities and sports to disable people under 18 (or more, when necessary).
    Guimarães also benefits from the work of the Forum Municipal para as Pessoas com Deficiência (Municipal forum for people with disabilities). This forum engages 17 institutions from the municipality.
    Unfortunately, there are no records or figures concerning the number of disabled people in the municipality of Guimarães. In order to gather some data and information it was necessary to consult and cross-check databases and platforms of different entities and organisms.
    When we talk about disabled population we talk about a double reality:
    Institutionalization > educational support; sport and physical activity; monitoring
    Domiciliation > Home or social support, always insufficient for the high number of requests; not always known by the network; tends to escape the records

    Signaling and identifying barriers

    Mobility:
    Difficulties in mobility between parishes
    Difficulties in accessibility and mobility in the public space
    Inadequate public transport services for disabled people
    Institutions:
    No vacancies for so much demand
    Lack of social responses to support disability (especially for those over 18)
    Lack of answers for children with disabilities during the school holidays
    No openness from kindergartens to integrate disabled children
    Institutions poorly prepared to serve an aging disabled population
    National education system is not adapted to integration of disabled children and young people
    Sports activities:
    Difficulties in accessibility and mobility in some sports facilities, specially leisure parks
    Schools are not prepared to integrate disabled children and young people into sports or regular physical activity
    Increased difficulty for the disabled person to be active or to practice sport
    Parents (disabled children and young people) tend to neglect sporting and physical activity, valuing activities that contribute to the autonomy of their children
    Social dimension:
    Disabled people are very vulnerable to poverty and social exclusion, they face difficulties in access to education, employment, public goods and services, public space and consequently are more distant or apart from sports and regular physical activity.

    How to approach for planning?
    Oriented planning (More localized planning and by parishes – adapting interventions to a more restricted community space and close to the populations)
    Increase school integration of disabled children and young people (Review with the national education system an effective integration of children and young people with disabilities)
    Awareness of families for the benefits of physical and sporting activities
    *
    Extending sporting offer and physical activities
    Promote community awareness to change attitudes towards disability
    Considering the fine line separating aid from segregation

    Recommendations
    Leisure parks more accessible with inclusive equipment – access ramps, floor more suitable for citizens in wheelchairs, blind or other disabilities and conditions; signage and inclusive information;
    Accessible areas for wheelchairs in all leisure and sports facilities;
    Strengthen the perception of disability as a priority for human rights – implementation of new technological solutions, improve inclusion policies;
    Attention to the aging population, whose difficulties in mobility and loss of autonomy lead to the growth of the disabled population.
    Building a space or sports equipment must be thought as an infrastructure to be used by all citizens, regardless the rules established by law

    Reviewed questions to debate:
    1 – What is the reality in other partner cities?
    2 – What kind of issues should a diagnostic tool include to identify barriers in the urban space what items should be included?
    3 – The design and construction of leisure and outdoor sports spaces should contemplate what kind of situations to be effectively accessible to all?
    4 – Is it enough to eliminate physical barriers or are there other areas, namely, socially and culturally, that we need to consider?
    5 – What kind of approaches adjusted to different disability conditions?
    6 – Must we design customized environments or simply promote accessibility?
    7 – Is it necessary to promote gendered activities and facilities for disabled people?
    8 – Will the development and adaptation of outdoor sports facilities be the best response to meet the needs of people with disabilities to promote sports activity?
    9 – Should outdoor sports facilities be supported by specialized technicians or not?

    [Paula R. Nogueira, Tempo Livre/Guimarães – presentation summary introduced in the online meeting 14.01.2019]

    Caterina Dada
    Member
    Post count: 42

    2 – What kind of issues should a diagnostic tool include to identify barriers in the urban space what items should be included?

    A very idea-generating and participatory diagnostic tool to identify barriers for disable in urban spaces is collective walks with disabled people, people taking care of them, urban planners and possibly also with sport trainers and people external to disabilities. Engaging these last 2 targets is essential as to raise awareness of trainers and the wider public about discriminations and barriers embedded in the urban spaces. In order to engage the wider public, an activity could be organised in which people with no disabilities are invited to walk around the selected urban space by “dressing” the different types of disabilities: go around on a wheelchair, walk with blind eyes, etc. A similar initiative takes place every year at Catholic University of Sacred Heart in Milan and Piacenza. It is called “Wear my clothes” (“mettiti nei miei panni” the Italian title) and it achieves resounding success among students and the academic body (https://www.cattolicanews.it/mettiti-nei-miei-panni-anche-a-piacenza). In 2017 the initiative also proposed a workshop where participants could experience limited hearing abilities.

    Caterina Dada
    Member
    Post count: 42

    3 – The design and construction of leisure and outdoor sports spaces should contemplate what kind of situations to be effectively accessible to all?

    A leisure and outdoor sport site that wants to be truly inclusive for disabled people must carefully consider all the needs the different types of disabilities. In fact, a place that only take into consideration some barriers for a type of disabilities and some barriers for another type of disabilities, keep on being not accessible for nor both types of disabilities.

    Another aspect is the level of inclusivity of the space. In order to make it fully inclusive and reduce the feeling of isolation that disable people often experience, the space should be appealing for both disable and non-disable people. How? For example, it should be placed in a central position where also non-disable people are encouraged to pass by and interact. The equipment should be thought to be used also by non-disable people. The equipment and the relative instructions and signals should not create barrier in the use of the equipment nor hurt the sensitivity of disabled people. With the words of the Musholm sport center’s director Henrik Ib Jørgensen states, “Accessibility must be felt but not seen,”.
    On this link it can be found the article about the Musholdm centre, a very successful indoor and outdoor sport centre in Danemark that is fully accessible for disabled people https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/feb/14/what-disability-accessible-city-look-like

    Caterina Dada
    Member
    Post count: 42

    4 – Is it enough to eliminate physical barriers or are there other areas, namely, socially and culturally, that we need to consider?

    As mentioned in the answer before, accessibility must be felt but not seen. This statement derives from the recognition that barriers are not only physical but also social, cultural and psychological. Besides physical accessibility, people’s assumptions, body ideals and a lack self confidence among people with disabilities are often the biggest barriers for diversity.
    To this extent, only focusing on eliminating a physical barrier without considering the wider emotional and social aspects related to it can generate further discrimination and isolation.
    For this reason, participatory diagnostic tool must focus not only on the identification of the physical barriers, but also on the feelings and perceptions of disable people in the interaction with already existing disable-friendly infrastructures or measures.

    Caterina Dada
    Member
    Post count: 42

    5 – What kind of approaches adjusted to different disability conditions?

    Customized approaches for every type of disabilities are essential to fully understand the needs of the people suffering of that disability and providing an answer. For inclusive places to be built, it is important that the final answer is able to embed all the different needs that have been detected. One of the keys to provide an inclusive answer is to differentiate the type of activities and equipment proposed. For example, an inclusive playground for children can provide with multiplay equipment based on different senses: some games are tactile, some other produces sounds, some other are based on visual stimulus. Another example is to provide for equipment that can be used with different level of interaction.
    On this topic, a growing number of companies offer inclusive solutions for outdoor physical activities. Here an example: http://www.inclusiveplay.com/designing-inclusive-play-solutions/

    Caterina Dada
    Member
    Post count: 42

    6 – Must we design customized environments or simply promote accessibility?

    Creating customized environments risks to increase the feeling of exclusion and discrimination of disabled people. For this reason, it is important that customization occurs in the planning phase, while gathering the needs to be satisfied through the space, and not in the final product. The final product should embed the specific needs without making the use of that products exclusive to people having those needs. On the contrary, the products/space/tools will be as more inclusive as they succeed in taking into account the specific needs of the different types of disabilities while looking appealing for the broader public.

    Caterina Dada
    Member
    Post count: 42

    7 – Is it necessary to promote gendered activities and facilities for disabled people?

    Gender friendly activity for disabled people are a very important driver to improve the physical, psychological and social conditions of women with disabilities. The stigma related to disable people is reinforced in the case of women by stereotypical views linked to gender, which portray women and girls with disabilities as sick, helpless, childlike, dependent, incompetent and asexual, greatly limiting our options and opportunities in life. As reported in the CBM publication on the inclusion of women with disabilities, women and girls with disabilities are recognised as having less access to education, lower outcomes from education, lower employment rate and lower financial stability than men with disabilities.
    For all these reasons, it is important to recognise this obstacle related to gender when designing facilities and activities for disable people. Nonetheless in case of restricted resources, before selecting such an action it can be important to weigh the benefits that such an action would bring to disable women against the disadvantages it creates for the excluded male disables context by context.

    Caterina Dada
    Member
    Post count: 42

    8 – Will the development and adaptation of outdoor sports facilities be the best response to meet the needs of people with disabilities to promote sports activity?

    Promoting disable-friendly outdoor sport facilities is a basic step to include people with disabilities in sport activities. Nonetheless, the mere infrastructure can do few if it does not come together with a psychological support and a social textile free of prejudice and stereotypes on disable people. For example, the women writing the above-mentioned report on the inclusion of women with disabilities denounce the general trend depicting them as a homogeneous group, without any differentiation on the grounds of gender or other identifying characteristics (age, sexual preference, origin, past experiences, etc.). This causes a stereotype image that harms their identity and self-esteem.
    There are many measures to enhance the practice of sport by people with disabilities beyond and together the refurbishing of disable-friendly venues. Providing occasion for social bonding and training the trainers in understanding disable people’s needs and finding the right measures to encourage the person to persist and grow in that activity are essential to ensure the persistence. Adapting the sport activity and offering a range of choice is also essential for the disable person to find the conditions that fit best with his/her disabilities.

    Caterina Dada
    Member
    Post count: 42

    9 – Should outdoor sports facilities be supported by specialized technicians or not?

    Specialized technician can be with any doubt of great help for the disable person to carry out his/her sport activity. Nonetheless, outdoor sport activities that can also be done autonomously should be envisaged, for 2 reasons. First of all, always needing a technician puts a not neglectable organizational and economic constraint on the practice of the sport activity, both for the practitioner and for the institute providing the specialized technician. Secondly, it can create a psychological and social barrier: the presence of the trainer creates a visible differentiation compared with the not disable people that do not need it and it fosters the dependency of the disable person on external help rather then being an occasion of empowerment and independency.

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