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Surely coaches of disabled people, whether in disability sport or mainstream sessions just need to know how to differentiate? This way they can adapt their skills sessions to suit all abilities? What other knoweldge do they need?
I completely agree with your comments. My personal experiences of formal coach education is that there is distinct lack of encouraging differentiation in coaching. Personally I feel that it is vital that coaches are prepared to deliver sessions suitable of all learners to encourage a sustained lifelong participation in sport and physical activity.
I guess the starting question is whether we educate coaches on the needs of different populations or we simple give them a toolbox of ideas to try and implement?
The best approach should be all coaches learn differentiation as part of their coaching development. In the meantime sports coach UK's philosophy is that to effectively coach disabled people you must use the principles of inclusion (ie: understanding the inclusion spectrum and STEPS principles: This content is embedded in the sports coach UK disability workshops). Essentially that is good coaching anyway, as you suggest!
Impairment specific knowledge can always be provided through the National Disability Sport Organisations. It is just not possible for coaches to learn all about every impairment that each individual has, as i mentioend above - just talk to the individual!
What sort of coach will you be without differentiation? Even in a mainstream environment, I've never seen a group that can all perform the same task at the same level.
I agree, differentiation should be involved in all courses academic or coaching badges.
I have a coach working for my company and she works with children with disabilities all the time, if I asked her how she would change her coaching if somebody turned up with autism, Down syndrome, DCD etc. She may be able to give brief answers what you may read on the internet but when you watch her coach she knows how to work with a individual and work with the person to help them take part, background knowledge is good but experience is crucial
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