AllPlay Footy helps children with disability thrive in community football

AllPlay Footy: Paving the Way to Inclusive Football for Every Child

In a remarkable collaboration, Monash University and the Australian Football League (AFL) are teaming up to revolutionize community football and make it accessible to all children. With one in five Australian children facing developmental challenges or disabilities, this partnership is breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for every child to play football.

AllPlay Footy, spearheaded by Professor Nicole Rinehart and the Monash Krongold Clinic in the Faculty of Education, is more than just a program—it’s a game-changer. The initiative stems from a crucial observation: young people with neurodevelopmental disorders were not fully experiencing the benefits of community sports.

Beyond physical and mental health, participation in sports like football can cultivate friendships and essential life skills. Yet, access and participation barriers have left children with disabilities sidelined far too often.

To tackle this issue head-on, AllPlay Footy offers a comprehensive suite of purpose-built resources. Players with disabilities, parents, coaches, and club coordinators now have access to over 360 tools, information resources, practical tips, heartwarming footy stories, and instructive videos. All these resources have been thoughtfully developed using extensive research and insights from the community, including individuals living with disabilities, families, coaches, and experts.

The impact of AllPlay Footy extends far beyond the football field. For children with disabilities, this initiative is an opportunity to thrive alongside their peers, reaping the benefits of participation not only in sports but also in school and at home. The joint efforts between Monash Krongold Clinic researchers and the AFL are driving a positive change, fostering inclusive environments that empower every child to embrace their passion for football.

With a shared vision of increasing participation levels of young people with disabilities in community football, AllPlay Footy’s strengths and evidence-informed disability inclusion resources are now available to the wider Australian rules football community. AFL’s Executive General Manager of Game Development, Rob Auld, highlights the transformative potential of this collaboration. As football continues to progress and evolve, it must be accessible to everyone. Through AllPlay Footy, the AFL is taking a significant step in creating authentic opportunities for families of young people with disabilities to actively participate in community football.

But it’s not just the AFL that’s praising this initiative. Rob Klemm, President of Williamstown in the Football Integration Development Association (FIDA), firmly believes in the power of the AllPlay Footy Disability Inclusion Coaching Course. Designed to advance inclusion in a methodical and productive manner, the coaching course is set to elevate local footy to new heights. Its comprehensive approach, including an Intellectual Disability elective, ensures that coaches, clubs, health professionals, and parents are equipped to deliver truly inclusive football programs.

As parents and carers, your influence on your child’s experiences and opportunities is immeasurable. AllPlay Footy is a game-changer that can profoundly impact your child’s life, providing them with a space to embrace their passion, form lasting friendships, and develop essential life skills through the love of football.

To view the AllPlay Footy toolkit, please visit: AllPlay Footy