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Sport has long been recognised by parents, teachers and coaches to be an activity which people with Down Syndrome can enjoy for recreation.   IAADS also recognises that athletics is a sport in which they can be competitive.
In the 1990s athletes with Down Syndrome could be seen competing with other athletes with intellectual disability in many events including the Paralympics.  Unfortunately, as sport for people with Intellectual Disabilities developed athletes with Down Syndrome found themselves unable to match the performances being established.  This was because athletes with Down Syndrome have additional functional and physical disability due to their condition.  
The opportunity to be competitive enhances so many aspects of the life of an athlete with Down Syndrome.  Exercise and the development of skills encourage fitness and well being.  In addition, taking part in competitions and being a member of a club or a team gives many opportunities to socialise and develop friendships.  Add to this the opportunity to travel to competitions world-wide, such as the first IAADS World Championships in Mexico.

Coaching people with Down Syndrome is not so different from coaching any athlete. However, for effective coaching the coach needs to be aware of these simple, but important, points in coaching Down Syndrome athletes:
- Coaches need to be patient.
- Keep instructions short and concise, repeating them many times.
- Teaching good technique is essential but may take many hours, don’t give up.
- It is important that athletes learn the basic rules but again, this is also a slow progress.
- Coaches must be aware of AAI (Atlanto Axial Instability) and the affect this has on the athlete.
- Coaches must make themselves aware of each athletes limitations in bodily movement not only when competing but also when doing warm up, stretching and flexibility exercises.
Finally, remember that coaching people with Down Syndrome is more like coaching non-disabled people than it is different.







 
 
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