Sports-based programs catering to Kids with additional needs!


We all know that sports can have a positive effect on children, from learning about leadership, teamwork skills and all the physical benefits. But what if your child doesn’t quite fit the mould for regular sporting activities?

Maybe there are too many other children around for your child to be fully comfortable, or the teacher doesn’t quite have the skills to know the best way to handle a melt-down. Sometimes the sport is just too tricky! These and many other issues can make sport seem very daunting to both parents and kids alike, so we have made a shortlist of some programs that are designed to overcome or assist those kids who need a bit of extra help.


Jui-jitsu: Need somewhere where your child can expend some energy and get the proprioceptive input that they need in a safe and constructive way? Jiu-jitsu may just be the place for you! We have observed a few kids sessions down at Gracie-Barra Jui Jitsu in Brookvale, and we loved what we saw! The kids learn correct martial arts etiquette, and how to be safe with the new skills they learn. Lots of fun rough and tumble for those kids who have excess energy to expend, in a fully padded area with lots of instructors. Give Sean a call on 9939 3910 for more information.


Nippers: Growing up, nippers was the highlight of my week! Leaning about surf skills and water safety, whilst having a ball with friends at the beach. But if your child has additional needs, this might be a big step to take. Luckily, there are surf clubs who are looking to make this institution much more inclusive for all children! Newport Nippers has always been extremely open about their inclusion program, running their weekly program for kids with special needs. This is one of only 2 programs in NSW dedicated to helping kids with special needs enjoy nippers like all other kids! If you think this might be fun for your child, call the club on 9997 5116 for more information.


Netball: Netball is one of the biggest sports in terms of participation in Australia, with over 1 million participants country-wide! But it is also a tricky sport for children with additional needs to understand and be involved with. The Manly-Warringah All-abilities team is a skills-based program, open to any girl with special needs, and is run down at the Curl-Curl courts on Saturdays during winter. The program has been running since 2009, with huge success! Please contact us at OTHC if you would like some more information.


“Sense-rugby”: Sense Rugby was founded in October 2015 by Paediatric Occupational Therapist, Carlien Parahi and Australian Rugby Sevens Olympian, Jesse Parahi. They run rugby- based programs, using Occupational therapy strategies to help kids enjoy the sport and gain skills. The couple have had great success with their programs, and they always have so much fun! Give Carlien a call on 0421 229 069 if you would like more information.


Swimming: Swimming is the big one that we get asked about a lot here at OTHC, as this essential skill is often very hard for children to accomplish. Throw in some additional needs, and swimming lessons can be a disaster! Many of our clients have made great improvements at Brooke Wither Swim School in Warriewood. The offer lessons for all ages, and they also have 1:1 lessons for those children, teens and adults with additional needs. The pool complex is brand-new, with a dedicated learn-to-swim pool. Call 9999 3446 if you have any questions!


We hope this list helps give you some inspiration about sports programs that you may not have thought about! Enjoy the sunshine, summer is coming and being outdoors is great for the kids!

(Please note that this list does not include every program available, just the ones we know about! We have not been approached by these companies/individuals to write a story, we just think they are great!!)