In an IDEAL world, everyone has the right to participate on an equal basis with others in society, including in physical activity (PA) and sport. However, the reality in many EU countries is that the majority of young people with intellectual disability (ID) and/or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have fewer opportunities to become physically active or to access sport.
Being active is a public health priority focus by the EU, but having ID and/or ASD is related to lower PA levels, increased sedentariness, and an associated increased risk of health problems (e.g., diabetes, obesity), and low physical fitness. Moreover, the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has caused further restriction to the PA routines of the marginalized population of youth with ID/ASD, exacerbating the physical and mental disparities they experience. The overall goal of the IDEAL 2.0 project is to facilitate equitable and inclusive access to sport and PA for young people with ID/ASD.
Building upon the outcomes of the successful IDEAL project finalized in 2020, and taking into account the COVID-19 situation, a new consortium was built to address the needs and priorities in the field of Inclusive and Equitable sport. IDEAL 2.0 is coordinated by KU Leuven, in collaboration with four other research institutions, and a global ID/ASD sport organization (Virtus). They also rely on their strong networks of associated partners for connecting with the target population and support staff (e.g., coaches).
IDEAL 2.0 stands for “Inclusive and Equitable sport for people with ID/ASD”.
Aligning with the acronym, the key actions representing the project are to
Include (create awareness within society about Inclusivity in sport),
Develop (translate Evidence-based practices successfully to PA/sport professionals),
Educate (teach coaches and support staff on how to organize adapted PA/sport training),
Activate (address the relevant social-determinants of inactivity) and
Lead (foster leadership and personal development skills)