In an IDEAL world, everyone has the right to participate on an equal basis with others in society. However, the reality in many EU countries is that the majority of young people with disabilities still find it hard to become physically active or access sport. They have fewer opportunities for full and equal participation in the activity of their choice. Being active is a public health priority focus by the EU, but having a developmental disorder is related to lower general activity rates, and a vulnerability factor for poor health. The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has caused additional challenges for all, and it has definitely restricted the physical activity routines of these vulnerable people even more, leading to direct and indirect negative health and mental health consequences.
The overall goal of the IDEAL 2.0 project is to facilitate equitable and inclusive access to sport and physical activity for young people with Intellectual Disability (ID) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Following up on the outcomes of the successful IDEAL project finalized in 2020, and taking into account the COVID-19 situation, a new consortium was installed to address the needs and priorities in the field of Inclusive and Equitable sport. IDEAL 2.0 is coordinated by KU Leuven (Belgium), in collaboration with three other research institutions specialized in ID/ASD-sport and ID/ASD-research, and one global ID/ASD-sport organization Virtus. They also rely on their strong networks of associated partners for reaching out to the target population and support staff (e.g., coaches).
IDEAL 2.0 stands for “Inclusive and Equitable sport for people with Autism and Intellectual Disability”.
Aligning with the acronym, the key verbs representing the project are to
I – Include (create awareness within society about Inclusivity in sport)
D – Develop (translate Evidence-based practices and interventions successfully to PA/sport professionals)
E – Educate (teach coaches and support staff on how to organize adapted PA or sport training)
A – Activate (address the relevant social-determinants of inactivity among individuals with ID and ASD).
L – Lead (foster their leadership and employability skills through sport and PA)