The Panathlon Challenge

The Panathlon Challenge is a national charity which provides sporting opportunities for over 7,500 disabled young people each year. Find out how they are improving deaf awareness and  provision of sporting opportunities for children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The Panathlon Deaf programme was started in direct response to calls from London deaf schools in need of more opportunities for sporting interaction amongst their students. After an initial phase of pilot work with key school partners, the Panathlon Deaf programme was implemented across London. Delivering a programme of activities to help young deaf children be more active and interact with their peers. The project was then expanded to more regions with deaf schools and units across the North West, West Midlands, Yorkshire and East of England taking part in regional events.

The aims of the project were to:

  • Provide knowledge and training for teachers of children with hearing impairments in non-traditional sports
  • Provide both team and individual competitive sporting opportunities for young deaf people
  • Improve communication and interaction opportunities for young deaf people

Provide opportunities for Panathlon’s Young Deaf Leaders to help run the events and act as role models to participants.

The Panathlon Deaf programme has successfully engaged around 40 schools and will be close to attracting over 500 deaf and hard of hearing children in Panathlon events across the country in 2016. Over 130 children attended events in Birmingham and Liverpool, where they took part in non-traditional sports Boccia and Basketball. For many of the children these events are the first time they have experienced taking part in a competitive form of sport.

At each event Panathlon provided teachers with upskilling opportunities on training, coaching and competition in non-traditional sports. Since then Panathlon has continued to build strong relationships with a number of schools, who are now providing regular participation opportunities for their students.

At each regional Panathlon Deaf event, students and teachers voiced how much they enjoyed interacting and socialising with peers from outside their immediate support network. The inclusive environment enabled students to develop both their communication skills and sport skills at an even pace.

Panathlon engaged a number of their young deaf Leaders to support the delivery of this programme. This enabled the young leaders to improve their leadership skills and act as role models for the younger participants. Young deaf leader, Jack Gair made a real impact at the Essex Deaf Panathlon event this year. As well as a gaining confidence and independence, Jack also scooped the Panathlon Young Leader of the Year award for his contribution. Around 40 deaf leaders have been involved across the country

Jack Gair, Panathlon young deaf leader:

I’m really proud of myself.

“I have enjoyed being part of Panathlon and it is great to see activity being made available for young deaf people to enjoy the thrill of sport.”

“It’s good to be a role model for other deaf children.

“They can see what I’ve done, they might think that they can learn to do the same in the future, to help children themselves.”

Sarah Hack – Elm Tree Primary School:

“I would just like to say how much the three boys from Elm Tree enjoyed the event – they loved it, loved the certificates and the medals especially!
“They really enjoyed being in the company of other Deaf/HI young people and getting to try something they have never tried before. They are now talking about starting a Boccia club at school.

“We would love to be involved with as many other events as possible.”

Miss Alicia Subnik – Communication Support lead, RBHIS Great Baddow:

The training we received gave us an excellent opportunity to invite students from fellow deaf primary school, Mildmay Juniors to learn how to play Boccia together. This gave them all an opportunity to meet each other and mix with other deaf children of different ages whilst learning a new sport.

Our involvement in the training, coaching and competition also gave us the opportunity to work with our year 12 students. To use the skills they have been learning in their BTEC sport leadership course to organise and practice Boccia with our younger students before the competition.

The students were able to meet other deaf students at the event of similar age, communicate with each other using British Sign Language and learn the importance of working together as a team.

It was opportunity for our students from different year groups to interact and form closer friendships. The older student acting as a positive deaf role model for the younger ones.

The students are very keen to attend more events and were so proud of themselves for their achievement in the competition.

Mrs Karen Thorpe – Lead Communicator, to all RBHIS Students, Philip Morant School:

The teachers and students had very little knowledge of Boccia and other sports in Panathlon before it was introduced to us by you through the training and coaching.

It has helped with the following:

  • Increased our awareness of different sports
  • Increased their knowledge of different disabilities and how everyone can overcome their disability to have an ability to achieve
  • Greatly improved their communication and team work.  They had to find strategies on how to work together and rely information to each other.
  • Students researched Panathlon and are now interested in wanting to join the Community clubs
  • Improved their confidence and motivation and gained a great sense of achievement
  • Gained more knowledge regarding sports coaching.

This has made a great difference to each child involved and it would be fantastic if this could continue. It was great to see all of the RBHIS together. We hope for more events for these deaf pupils across Essex.

For more information

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Phone 07807 984 103 Email
Website Twitter @ @Panathlon
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