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Aliyah's thoughts on trampolining and inclusion

03 March 2023 09:00

We would like to focus on inclusion in sports these few months. We start with Aliyah. She is in the same trampolining club, Activ8, as my son, Sean. It is great to see children and young people with and without disabilities having fun bouncing every week. Aliyah has a physical disability but that has never limited her in any way and here is what she said:

Can you tell us about yourself?

My name is Aliyah and my disability is that my right hand is missing. Ever since I was younger I was always quite shy about it and tended to hide it a lot, but my disability has never made me feel like I can't be like other kids and I’ve always grown up with the mentality that there is always a way to do things for myself, even if the process may take a little longer than the average person. My main passions have always been sports related as I did try other sports in the past when I was younger including swimming, tennis, badminton and netball.

When did you start trampolining and what made you (or your parents) want to do it?

I started trampolining around the age of 10 as it was recommended by a family friend that I should try it out. My parents never wanted me to shy away from being active and making friends outside of school just because of my hand so they encouraged me to try it. If I'm being completely honest I was very nervous to join the club as I had no idea what to expect. I tended to hide my hand a lot so being encouraged to join a trampolining club was pretty scary to me. I still remember my first day like it was yesterday and I absolutely loved it. It felt like such a good community and I felt so included in such a short space of time. I only trained once a week for an hour but I kept begging my mom to let me go more days because I loved it so much and I was progressing quite quickly.

How do you feel about being in the club and how has being in a club helped you?

I love being a part of my club. As typical as it sounds, it’s like a second family to me and being able to escape the realities of my life and come to training and just laugh with friends & train doing the sport I love is what makes it so special. There are so many benefits to being part of a club, whether it’s sports related or not I wish all kids had the opportunity to get out there and socialise with others they may not typically socialise with & just enjoy themselves in an active, healthy environment.

How has trampolining helped you?

Trampolining has helped me in so many ways but the main thing is definitely my confidence, especially when it comes to my disability it has made me feel a lot less self conscious of what people may think, and with the way I am included and not treated any different, it almost makes me feel proud to have the disability I have.

What do you think about inclusion in trampolining in general?

Inclusion in trampolining is such an important thing. When I was younger and had started competing in big national competitions such as British National Finals, I remember there being barely any disability kids in my groups, resulting in very little competition which can get quite boring and unmotivating. However, over the last few years, there has been a lot more people joining disability trampolining and they have been progressing very well. It has created a lot more (friendly) competition and it has meant I’ve met some really nice friends over the last couple years.

Are there anything you think the society should do to improve disability inclusion in sports?

I think disability inclusion in sports should definitely be promoted a lot more and I think clubs should be promoting disability inclusion too. I think there’re a lot of parents out there who are very willing to put their disabled kids into so many sports but they are afraid of other kids picking on them or afraid of coaches not being able to ‘handle’ their child in the right way. I think it is a valid thought for parents to have and this is why more clubs need to educate themselves and their coaches more on how to deal with disabilities.