Learning Disabilities Super League Coaches Access Innovative Training Day

COACHES working for the Rugby League Charitable Foundations had access to an innovative training day to support their delivery of the Super League Community Integrated Care Learning Disability.

Representatives from the 17 clubs taking part in the program enjoyed a busy day of professional development, led by Community Integrated Care in partnership with the Rugby Football League (RFL). Offering training from the charity’s specialists in learning disability and autism support, access to an autism experience simulator and opportunities to learn from lived experiences of LDSL players, the event powerfully supported coaches ahead of the groundbreaking program’s biggest season yet.

Community Integrated Care is one of the UK’s largest and most successful social care charities. It is proud to be the Official Social Partner of the RFL, Super League and Rugby League World Cup 2021.

He joined the sport in 2019 to help lead the creation of the Super League Community Integrated Care Learning Disability. This program, a world first, allows people with learning disabilities and autism to play a specially adapted version of Rugby League for the clubs they love, in a non-competitive and inclusive environment.

The DPC day saw Community Integrated Care autism practitioner Denise Kennedy help coaches understand methods to better connect and build independence in their players. This was supported by Craig Thomason, Head of Partnerships and Communities for the charity, who facilitated a workshop that helped coaches identify ways to create a person-centred and inclusive team culture, in which every player can flourish.

The training day powerfully blended technical learning and practical hands-on. This included coaches using an autism experience simulator, which helped them better appreciate the sensory needs some players might have. It also saw players from the Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League also become coaches, as they put their coaching teams to the test in a series of drills designed to help coaches discover new ways to empower and support their players on the pitch and adapt. the game to make it accessible to all.

The day brought together coaches from Barrow Raiders, Castleford Tigers, Featherstone Rovers, Halifax Panthers, Hull FC, Hull KR, Leeds Rhinos, Leigh Centurions, Newcastle Thunder, Salford Red Devils, Sheffield Eagles, St Helens, Wakefield Trinity, Warrington Wolves, Widnes Vikings, Wigan Warriors and York City Knights.

Craig Thomason, Head of Partnerships and Communities at Community Integrated Care, said:

“We take our role as an official social partner of Rugby League and contributors to the Learning Disability Super League very seriously. We are committed to sharing our skills and resources to help the LDSL improve every year and develop talent within the Rugby League. By doing so, we can continually improve the impact our charity and this sport have on people’s lives.

“This training day was truly inspiring. Bringing together quality training, innovative technologies, the lived experience and insight of the players, and the passion and knowledge of every coach in the room, the coaches left the day filled with new ideas and enthusiasm to the coming season. We would like to thank the RFL and all participating foundations for their support in developing the best program possible.

Warrington Wolves Foundation coach Oli Murphy was among those who attended the event and took part in the Autism Experience simulator. He said:

“It was a real eye-opener and made me realize how completely different everyone’s experience is on the autism spectrum. There were times when we had different experiences with each other there- It showed how individualized each player’s experience is, so our coaching and delivery needs to be too.

“It was great to be able to bounce ideas from other coaches and learn about the best ways to present the sport which will provide a better culture for all of us in the future. I am grateful to Community Integrated Care and the RFL for organizing such a special day and for investing in the talents of the coaches.

Chris Godfrey, Head of Social Inclusion at RFL, said:

“The partnership between the RFL and Community Integrated Care has been important to us as the sport’s national governing body. He ensured that effective working methods were used by everyone involved through expert training, delivered by Community Integrated Care, enabling coaches to better understand participants with learning disabilities, autism and associated conditions.

“This, in turn, maximized the impact of the Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League on its participants, meaning that while both parties benefited from the existing partnership, and most importantly, Community Integrated Care Learning Disability participants Super League had the best experiences, many memorable moments and life-changing opportunities. We look forward to the continued working partnership and development of the Learning Disability Rugby League.

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