A selection of integrated sports that enable youngsters from southern Milan—with and without disabilities—to grow together, developing the skills of each and more mature relational capacities.
In Italy, 85,000 primary school children (3.0% of the total) and about 65,000 lower secondary school pupils (3.8% of the total) have disabilities, but the number of these children who practice some sort of sport is drastically low.
There is a lack of appropriate facilities and frequently coaches have no training in how to handle different problems.
Even more serious is the lack of information about the services available in the territory and insufficient awareness of the rehabilitative and educational aspects of sport with regard to curing diseases. Moreover, many people believe that sport can be a danger to health.
These factors combined with a family’s limited financial resources often keep children with special needs away from sport and, amongst other things, deny them an experience for growth and socializing, thereby increasing the risk of isolation.
Our answer: the “Sport Exclusively for Everyone” project
The “Sport Exclusively for Everyone” project was created with the aim of re-establishing the social value of sport through the innovative practice of movement and sport.
The project is oriented towards making sports disciplines accessible to children and teenagers in the south of Milan, without differentiating between youngsters with or without disabilities.
From January to June 2016 training sessions will be held in the five disciplines selected, with particular attention to helping youngsters with special needs to have access to sport. Following the purely inclusive aspect, classes will be divided only according to age.
The sports selected are:
• Indoor Rowing
• 5-a-side football
The development of these activities will not focus on performance and technical results, but on an increase in the autonomy of the individual and the group, thedevelopment of greater sociability, stronger social cohesion and social skills.
Everyone is given the chance to practice movement and sport without involving the child or teenager in a selection of the best.
Sport thereby demonstrates its most genuine values and contents: socializing,autonomy, wellbeing, enjoyment of playing and being together.
The youngsters involved
The project will be implemented in zone 5 of Milan and concerns the southern area of the city. It aims to involve youngsters with or without special needs between 7 and 14 years of age.
The classes will be divided according to age and each of the 5 sports will involve between 4 and 10 youngsters per class, with a total of about 40 students.
The “Sport Exclusively for Everyone” project is carried out with two excellent partners: the Fondazione Don Gnocchi, which for 60 years and thanks to over 5700 operators has been involved in the care of disabled people and the elderly, in rehabilitation, training and scientific research and, since 2001, international solidarity; and the Lombardy Special Olympics Italy team, an international programme – in 170 countries – of coaching and athletic competitions for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
The project also enjoys the support of the Municipality of Milan and is realized in collaboration with the schools in the territory.