In the UK there are almost 14 million disabled individuals, approximately 22% of the population. Research has found that disabled people aged over 16 are twice as likely to be inactive as non-disabled people (43% vs 21%) and three times more likely to take part in no physical activity at all (31% vs 10%).
Our own research found that 76% of parents/carers said that their loved one with Down’s syndrome was not very active before they started attending a DSActive session, with the vast majority saying that there were no other suitable provisions in their area aside from the DSActive session.
Physical activity is crucial to the health of people with Down’s syndrome. A University of Cambridge PHD research project found that 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity was hugely beneficial for preventing diabetes and obesity, two illnesses more common in people with Down’s syndrome.
Since joining a DSActive session, 27% of participants have lost weight, 68% have improved their fitness, 71% have grown in confidence, 78% have improved their physical ability and 91% have improved their social skills. A review of the DSActive programme also found that taking part in DSActive sessions lead to improvements in: social interactions, team work, understanding others’ needs and non-verbal and verbal communications skills.
It is common knowledge that sport and exercise have many physical benefits. This principle also applies to people with Down’s syndrome, and the DSActive programme has already yielded some astonishing results. Many participants have significantly improved their weight management and fitness, increased their level of coordination and have seen a noticeable increase in ease of movement.
Additionally, DSActive has offered players an opportunity to spend time together in an active environment. By linking with existing local clubs DSActive has also created chances for participants to connect more frequently and freely with their peers at school, leading to a vast majority seeing a great development in their social and emotional development.
Sessions are run by qualified coaches who teach the participants skills, techniques and the rules of the sports in a fun and friendly environment. Many of the sessions focus on team work, co-operation and communication…all very important skills for everyday life.