Sailing For  All

Sailing For All

Getting children with Autism Spectrum Disorder out sailing

Irish Sailing are proud to launch the new Sailing for All ASD programme – an app for children with autism spectrum disorder to bridge the communication gap, overcome environmental challenges and get them out sailing.

Working alongside our partners Clare Sports Partnership, Get Autism Active, Anitech Solutions and other key partners, the project uses an interactive software that teaches children with ASD how to sail from the comfort of their own home or school environment before attending any on the water training course.

Approximately 1.5% of the school-going population in Ireland is classified as having Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)* and for many children, sport can be too challenging to participate in. Families have told us that there are too many obstacles to sailing like aversion to new environments, disliking wetsuits, too much noise, too many new people, and fear of water. We know however, that being in the outdoors and participating in watersports is proven to be highly beneficial to overall physical health and mental wellbeing.

Working with families, the Sailing for All ASD programme brings sailing into the familiar surroundings of the home or school environment first by teaching children how to sail through a series of videos. The student may pick the environment, the coach or the voice of the person delivering the training and then use tappable tasks to check for comprehension. Students will then see story boards showing what is ahead for them. The platform also has capacity for non-verbal communicators to learn. Once the student is familiar with the online learning aspect of the programme, the transition can be made to a new environment and getting on the water.

The project is currently being in piloted in Kilrush Marina with the Royal Western Yacht Club in Clare and with Club Mara Chonamara Láir in Galway with plans to scale up the programme to other counties in 2023. For children, families, coaches or clubs and centres interested in finding out more please email, watch the full film in the bio link above, or go to ...

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