Rijeka Disability Sports Association - the role of organization in the process of inclusion 2. 4. 3

Author: Ilona Koval Grubišić

Keywords: sports association, sports clubs for persons with disabilities, inclusion, adaptive physical culture, adaptive sports, Paralympics sport

The growth of disability is a world trend. In total there are about 650 million officially registered disabled people in the world. According to the World Health Organization, people with disabilities make up about 10% of the world’s population. Despite the success of medicine, their number is slowly but steadily growing, especially among children and adolescents. For comparison: in the US - 54 million disabled, or 19%, in China - 60 million, or 5%. Until recently, the problems of this fairly large group of people were ignored, and yet, as a result of the gradual humanization of society, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the World Program of Action concerning Disabled Persons and the United Nations Standard Rules on the Implementation of Equal Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities were adopted. In many countries, legislative acts have been adopted that reflect the problems of disabled people. From year to year, the number of children with developmental disorders increases. The number of children with developmental disabilities and poor health reaches 85% of the total number of new-borns. Only some of these children will later become the object of correctional work, but the number of children who need such work is quite large. According to foreign statistics, it is 9-11% of the total child population (Sunagatova, 2012, Dyachenko, Rzyankina, Solokhina, 2010)

Working with children with developmental disabilities in sports clubs (guidelines)

The Rijeka Sports Association for Persons with Disabilities provides equal opportunities for sports and recreation for all persons with disabilities in the Rijeka area, regardless of age, gender, socio-economic status or type of disability.

The aim of the Association is to create a network of sports clubs for persons with disabilities in the Rijeka area, which will provide a wide range of sports for people with disabilities, as well as engagement and training of skilled professionals to work with people with disabilities. Such a bid will encourage and attract many people with disabilities, and especially youth with disabilities to sports.

Basic programs of the association

Promotion of sports for persons with disabilities

The level of knowledge regarding the sport of people with disabilities is very low in our society. Reasons for this are numerous, but the main cause is poor media coverage (below 2% of total media coverage). In 2011 and 2012, the Association made the project “Paralympics School Day”, in cooperation with the HPO, which proved to be extremely successful. The Association is actively participating in the media promotion of all sports and sports competitions for persons with disabilities in the area of Rijeka, in cooperation with all relevant media. The Association communicates with the public through the website.

Sports games for children with difficulties

The Rijeka sports games for children with disabilities – launched in 2009, have transcended their initial form and expanded so that now they include a new Educational-Sport program for children and young people. GAMES are held for the 8th time in a row, and the Rijeka Sports Association for Persons with Disabilities took an active part in the project. This year’s program consisted of a series of games involving children with developmental difficulties as well as their friends without any difficulties in development, and in this way, through the program “My Friend and Me”, inclusion through sports was presented.

The goal of Rijeka’s sports games is to enable children with developmental difficulties to have the best effect of physical activity, improving self-confidence, positive perception, improving sensory abilities, developing self-reliance and helping in the group, socializing and joys, and acceptance in the community.

Inclusion of new people with disabilities and new coaches in sport of people with disabilities

The success of any sports club in the long run is based on the ability of the club to keep current members and to attract new ones. Attracting new members to clubs has proved to be the biggest problem of some member clubs of the Association.

The key to recruiting new members - the option to include new people with disabilities in sporting activities is to “reach” the right people, especially the parents of young people with disabilities. Therefore, the Association regularly carries out workshops on the sport of people with disabilities and actively promotes sports for persons with disabilities in schools health organizations, hospitals and healthcare institutions.

As is common knowledge in our society, very few people with disabilities are involved in active sports and recreation, which is very important in rehabilitation as well as socialization in society. In order to include people with disabilities in sports and recreation, it is necessary to organize effectively: clubs, trainers, adapted facilities where people with disabilities can have easy access, organize seminars, promotion of available sports activities, organize promotional tournaments, and tour of various institutions. The inclusion in sports and recreation depends primarily on the active participation of people with disabilities and their primary environment (family, friends) where they cease to be passive observers and begin to actively participate in the creation and upgrading of the system of their service.

By conducting sports and recreational activities of people with disabilities, as well as accompanying media coverage, the perception in society of people with disabilities as passive social entities will also change.

By actively engaging in sports, people with disabilities will also gain new skills and in doing so, will challenge community to respond with new, different expectations, which will in turn start the unstoppable process of social evolution.

The employment program of city sports instructors for the sport of people with disabilities will enable the creation of a special data bank of one portion of the population with disabilities, which will bring about new public interest, and in particular the inclusion of a greater number of young people with disabilities in sport.

The program also includes ongoing openness to the health system, its members and their ideas, and cooperation with the families of people with disabilities that, due to the many experiences they have had, need to be actively involved in the system. Since sport has a particular place in the social hierarchy, it is logical to choose this activity as the primary means of sensitizing our public, because of its social, public, medical and emotional reasons.


Sunagatova LV, Marchenkova UA Influence of adaptive sports on social adaptation of invalids // Young scientist. - 2012. - № 12. - P. 603-607. - URL https://moluch.ru/archive/47/5856/. Retrieved 15.10.2018.

Dyachenko, VG, Rzyankina MF, Solokhina LV A guide to social paediatrics. Under. Ed. V.G. Dyachenko / V.G. Dyachenko, M.F. Rzyankina, L.V. Solokhin - Khabarovsk: Publishing house of the Far-Eastern State Medical University, 2010, - 124 p.