Children and adults with a disability have to overcome countless obstacles to achieve the same health outcomes as those without a disability, which makes their amazing sporting and community achievements so significant. Exercise is a common facilitator for these achievements, with the increasing availability of sports participation and access to new and exciting opportunities. If it isn’t clear enough, the simple message is this:
“Focus on the ABILITY, not the DISABILITY”
“Statistics show that 18.5% of the population have a disability, which is approximately 4.2 million people. With such a majority of Australians living with a disability, the importance of inclusion is significant, and breaking down these barriers where possible is vital” - ESSA CEO Anita Hobson-Powell.
As Accredited Exercise Physiologists we can provide the capacity building skills to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to explore their physical capabilities. This article goes on to clarify the importance of specialised exercise therapy and how the barriers to accessing our services have been broken down through government initiatives such as Medicare and the NDIS.
Why is tailored exercise so important?
Physical activity in persons with disability leads to a myriad of both physical and psychological health benefits1, including social inclusion, functional ability, cardiovascular health, and so on. Acting early by prescribing tailored exercise to children with certain disabilities such as cerebral palsy, can help maximise compensatory mechanisms of the central nervous system in order to decrease abnormal patterns of movement or posture. People with down syndrome have a greater incidence of congenital heart disease and joint laxity, which can be managed with increased aerobic training and muscular strengthening, respectively. Even exercise in people with sensory impairments such as deafness and blindness experience improvements in functionality and mobility confidence with a tailored exercise program. Exercise can significantly prevent the risk of joint and muscle contractures associated with conditions such as spinal cord injury and myelomeningoceles. Beyond all, exercise therapy has the capacity to increase overall engagement in everyday life for of all.
How can they access our services?
Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) and The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) are two common pathways for persons with disabilities to access our services. The Medicare Benefits Scheme entitles all persons living with a chronic condition/s to 5 allied health sessions per calendar year. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) aims to provide Australians under the age of 65 with a permanent or significant disability all the necessary supports they need to enjoy an ordinary life. The participant and their carers are in full control of the care they receive, which makes the process quick and easy to receive exercise physiology treatment.
With the new and exciting opportunities available in this space, who wouldn’t want to be a part of it! Get in touch with us today to find out more about how you can benefit from the power of exercise.
Children’s Sport and Exercise Medicined: Third Edition, Armstrong & Van Mechelen (2017). Oxford.
Exercise and disability, M. Ciappara (2018). Exercise Right. Online: Exerciseright.com.au