Opportunities through Abilympics

Abilympics is the abbreviation of 'Olympics of Abilities', an competition which promotes the employment skills of people with a disability (though the focus is on ‘ability’ and participation - what they CAN do).

Abilympics International, established in 1981, is a worldwide organisation with a membership of 87 countries. Abilympics Australia hosted the International Competitions in 1995 in Perth and subsequently had a group participating in Prague in 1999 and New Delhi in 2003.

The Abilympics competitions specifically cater for people with a wide range of disabilities and support needs. To ensure that each of the competitions meet the needs of competitors, sub categories cater for people with intellectual disability, physical disability, sensory disability and for people with psychiatric disabilities. Competitors skill levels and support needs are also be taken into account in the structure and content of competitions.

While there is a competitive element underpinning Abilympics events, the emphasis throughout the program is on participation and ensuring that participants are able to gain maximum benefit from being involved, not only in relation to personal development, but also from the perspective of enjoyment and having a successful positive experience with peers. To ensure the relevance and appropriateness of the Abilympics program, the vocational skill competitions have been developed by a committed group of representatives from a wide range of organisations working with people with a disability in employment including Business Services, Disability Employment Network providers and TAFE together with disabled people themselves.

VJ Lucy Nash