Each person, no matter who they are, brings a unique identity and talent to a club.

 

Judging people with a disability as lesser-than, and treating them in ways that are limiting, is discrimination.

This treatment might take the form of:

  • Making the mistake that disability access is only about ramps (i.e. physical disability)
  • Seeing no issue with asking someone about their disability
  • Remarking about someone’s disability as some sort of defect
  • Making demeaning remarks about a disability
  • Immediately limiting the participation possibilities for a person

 

Belittling someone and treating them as if they’re of lesser value because of a disability always causes harm.

It’s no fun being the butt of crude remarks and put downs about one’s abilities. It’s no fun being judged as inferior, or a lesser human being by others who find it difficult to accept that a person with a disability is no different from them in terms of their aspirations, desire for respect and equal treatment.

Discrimination towards people with disabilities is a surefire way to undermine social cohesion in your club and miss out on the contributions of talented people.

A club aspiring to be a place of respect, safety, fun, fairness and success is one where everyone works side by side, respectfully, with others in and around the club. Disability discrimination is called out and dealt with constructively.

Club Respect advice:

Step 1. Take notice and self-reflect

 

First, check yourself. Be prepared to subject your own attitudes and behaviours to scrutiny:

How well do you think you interact with people with disabilities?
Do you speak differently to a person with a disability?
Do you automatically assume you can inquire about the cause and impacts of a person’s disability?
Do you think beyond ramps?

 

Step 2. Be alert

 

Be alert to behaviours of those around you, such as when a club says kids with disabilities require too much effort.

Listen closely to people with disabilities so that you hear directly what supports around the club would make a positive difference for them.

Have conversations with those around you to boost and normalise disability awareness in your circles.

Create a safe space where people can talk openly and ask what they feel might be ‘stupid questions’.

 

Create a welcoming community for people of all abilities at your club. At a club level:

  • Enshrine anti-disability discrimination in your club’s code of conduct; and member protection policy
  • Ensure your club has a Disability Inclusion Policy
  • Audit your club for the access provided to members

 

Step 3: Speak up

 

We know that it can be difficult and sometimes dangerous to call out any discrimination. We know that this is why people sometimes choose to turn a blind eye and remain uneasily silent.
But ableism and its destructive impacts, will continue in and around your club, unless it is called out by you and others.

Club Respect has created SMART steps to help you.