Residents of The Disability Trust’s Supported Independent Living accommodation across the region have been using lockdown as an opportunity to get behind the athletes in both the Olympics and Paralympics. The aim of the project is to be creative and inclusive while having some fun in celebrating the games.
The challenge started by encouraging each person to imagine they had qualified to participate in the upcoming Paralympic games.
Preparations included making medals, creating their own team logo, producing a Paralympic flag, and planning their own opening ceremony. The activities are taking place across the fourteen homes in the Sydney region, with good natured competition between the homes and the participants, while including other elements such as craft activities. Those residents who could not participate physically made medals for the winners.
Each of the different homes developed their own programme depending on the resources available, so some of the sports may not be familiar to regular Paralympic Games viewers. While basketball is strongly represented, there is also ten pin bowling (be it skittles or drink bottles), quoits, egg and spoon races, and even the sport of ‘catch-the-ping-pong-ball-in-giant-knickers’.
There will of course be medal presentations and a closing ceremony to follow.
For residents at the Raglan Road Home the Games started earlier in the month when they created their own Olympic Games to honour our Olympians who made Australia so proud in Tokyo.
Participant Stephen Harrison said,
“I really enjoyed participating in the Raglan Home Olympics, it was very exciting and fun. My favourite sport that I participated in was playing basketball and using my muscles to score multiple hoops. I watched the Tokyo Olympics and supported the Olyroos playing for our country and the water sports kept me on the edge of my wheelchair!”
The ceremony at the end of the sporting events was made all the more special when the awards were presented virtually by an Australian Olympian who competed in Tokyo this year.
Olyroos player Thomas Glover presented the achievement awards and congratulated everyone on their efforts. Thomas is the son of Nicole Glover, disability support worker for The Disability Trust .
Thomas spoke afterwards about the experience.
“I was very humbled to be asked to present participation awards to the residents of Raglan House for their outstanding efforts."
"Having just competed in soccer for Australia in this year’s Olympics, I’ve been lucky to associate with many talented sports people. After watching the Raglan residents competing in totem tennis, basketball and discus by video from my hotel isolation, I can honestly say their efforts were every bit as impressive as the professionals I’ve played with."
Projects such as the Paralympic Challenge form an essential part of the program of activities that support workers at The Disability Trust utilise to keep their residents calm, engaged and active during lockdown restrictions, when outings and community participation is not possible.
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