Gymnastics Victoria Wins Victorian Disability Sport and Recreation Award
Gymnastics Victoria was awarded the VicHealth Sport Initiative of the Year Award at the 2021 Victorian Disability Sport and Recreation Awards held on Tuesday 23 November. The winning initiative was the ‘Creating A Positive Experience for Athletes with Autism in Gymnastics’ online course developed in collaboration with Special Olympics Australia and Playbk Sports (formerly Leaders of Evolution).
The online course was launched in February 2021 as a learning experience for coaches and physical education teachers to delve into the practical strategies of coaching athletes with autism in gymnastics with insights from coaches and sector experts.
The course was inspired by work undertaken by psychologists Meghan Wilson and Cara Small from 2018 – 2020 in collaboration with Gymnastics Victoria. The pair designed a bespoke curriculum that was delivered into gymnastics centres across Victoria, with the key goal of better equipping hundreds of coaches to provide a positive experience for athletes on the Autism Spectrum. With the onset of COVID this workshop was then adapted as an online course.
Gymnastics Victoria’s CEO Robin O’Neill was delighted to see the organisation’s inclusion work recognised.
“It’s excellent to have this project recognised by winning the Disability Sport and Recreation Sport initiative of the year award. A huge amount of work was put into the project by Program and Inclusion Managers, April Wilson and Carolyn Bell in conjunction with many supporting partners. We’re pleased to be championing inclusion in every aspect of our organisation,” Robin said.
Special Olympics Australia’s National Sports Partnerships Manager Yvonne Snell was also thrilled to have the collaboration recognised at the night of nights for the disability sporting sector in Victoria.
“It’s fantastic to be able to host this course on our online learning platform as an extension to our course: ‘An introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder’. The content is very engaging and valuable for coaches working with children who have autism in a gymnastics setting. Gymnastics Victoria is a very deserving winner of this award,” Yvonne said.
The evening’s event was livestreamed here and more information on the course which was also supported by the Victorian State Government can be found here.