DSActive is a programme run by the Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA). We aim to provide as many opportunities as possible for people with Down’s syndrome to lead active and healthy lives. We started in 2006 by offering a football session for people with Down’s syndrome with Fulham FC Foundation. Since then we have grown into a national programme offering many different sports. We offer expert training to coaches, run festivals to celebrate the achievements of our athletes and support people with Down’s syndrome to achieve coaching qualifications.
What the programme does
The main aim of the DSActive programme is to provide opportunities for people with Down’s syndrome to be active and healthy. We do this by working with sports clubs, activity providers, National Governing Bodies of sports, other disability sports organisations and coaches. The DSActive team market all our sessions to increase participants, they regularly visit the sessions to support the coaches and run festivals with our sports clubs. The DSActive team also provide expert advice to each sports club or activity provider to ensure the sessions are of the highest standard possible and are suitable for all ages and abilities. The team have also helped many people with Down’s syndrome to achieve qualifications in their chosen sport so they can pursue their dreams of becoming coaches.
Why it works
Working closely with many community and professional clubs, DSActive staff offer continuous support to everyone that is involved. During the start-up phase, clubs will be advised on the best way to organise and deliver a session to ensure that the highest participation levels are achieved. Before any club begins their programme, a member of the DSActive team will deliver our unique coach education workshop which advises coaches on the best way to adapt their sessions to suit the needs of people who have Down’s syndrome. The workshop is open to volunteers, parents and staff at the club as well as the qualified coaches. This gives the option for everyone to be involved from the start, forming a tight community foundation.
These weekly sessions have allowed players to develop in a number of ways and have showcased many examples of the benefits of the DSActive programme. Along with the obvious improvements in coordination and cognition, players have seen great enhancements in their physical and emotional health, and the sessions regularly highlight the change in confidence and self-esteem.