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In an IDEAL world, everyone has the right to participate on an equal basis with others in society. In sport, more and more participation opportunities arise for people with a disability, and unprecedented media interest is generated, particularly by Special Olympics & Paralympic Games. However, the reality in many EU countries is that the majority of young people with an intellectual disability (ID) still find it hard to access sport (European Commission White Paper on Sport, 2010). They have fewer opportunities for full and equal participation, and limited opportunity to specialise/excel in the activity of their choice. Being active is a public health priority focus by the EU, but having an ID is related to lower general activity rates, and a vulnerability factor for poor health.



The aim of the IDEAL project is to address these inequalities through increasing the quality of sport interventions and structures, empowering young people with ID and improving their physical and mental health.

Seven institutions specialised in ID-research across the EU, promoted this collaborative partnership, and established a network with local and global disability sport organizations. They have a common experience, respectively with research on the impact of ID on sport, and delivering sport programmes of certified quality. The IDEAL project seeks to translate what is known about ID in relation to sport (benefits, barriers &facilitators) into concrete suggestion for action.


Assess if the currently existing ID-sports programmes & ID-sports structures across the EU meet the needs of all people with ID in society and identify where and how the programmes and structures can be improved.


Set-up joint, evidence-based interventions to improve the quantity and quality of initiatives in 4 focus sport areas: athletics, aquatic activities, team sports, & winter sports. Concrete actions will focus on gateways to increase participation, i.e., identifying role models, coach the coaches, motivate the athletes, and provide more and better competition opportunities.

Develop EU standards for high-quality interventions to promote sports in people with ID and make these guidelines easily and widely accessible through online platforms.

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