Athletes and coaches wanted for research study

Athletes with intellectual impairments and their coaches are being asked to take part in a research project which aims to get more young people in Europe into sport.

The Intellectual Disability and Equal Opportunities for Active and Long-term participation in sport – or IDEAL – is an Erasmus funded project which brings together organisations across the region.

Its aim is to address known inequalities in access to sport for youngsters with intellectual impairments so that more people can get active and reach their potential.

The IDEAL team are searching for athletes and coaches with experience of giving or receiving coaching. They will carry out 20-30 minute interviews which will cover backgrounds and personal experiences.

The research will then be used to improve the standard of coaching for people with intellectual impairments.

Those taking part must have a good understanding of English and be aged 18 years or over.

Athletes must also have an intellectual impairment or autism and have been competing in a sport for at least six months with the help of a coach. Coaches need a minimum of one years experience working with these athletes.

Anyone interested should contact Matthew Johnston from Canterbury Christ Church University.


One of the innovative aspects of the IDEAL project is the involvement and cooperation between multiple European parties. The IDEAL project brings together the main intellectual impairment sport organisations with research institutions to collaborate on sports policy. Such a large scale project has never been done in the past.

To advance the development of this area, an extensive partnership between several institutions is necessary. The coordination of these involved parties is carried out by the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, the overall coordinator of the project.

Included in this network of European parties are distinguished academic institutions across the EU. Each of these academic institutions is responsible for one specific sport or task related to their field of expertise.

As well as these sport institutions and universities, sport federations such as the International Federation for Athletes with Intellectual Impairments (World Intellectual Impairment Sport) and the International Paralympic Committee are involved. National sports federations are also a crucial part of the project.

For more information visit the IDEAL project website.