Ash Bradac is a single mum of four children aged between 2 and 7 years old, all of whom have additional needs. Through her own and her kids’ experiences, she recognised the benefits of individuals being active in a way that suited them. Consequently, Ash began #IPlayMyWay as ‘innovation out of frustration and desperation’. the #IPlayMyWay is a campaign that advocates for inclusivity in sport and attempts to change the mindset of what therapeutic intervention looks like for people with disabilities.
For the love of sport
Ash had an unstable upbringing and was in and out of foster homes from a young age. The one constant in her young life was sport. Basketball gave her many things: an outlet, a sense of predictability and consistency, and a feeling of belonging and acceptance. Fast forward to today, Ash is a busy mum and has identified that her love to play basketball is still more than just about exercise. She finds that playing sport has a massive flow on effect to her wellbeing: physically, mentally and socially.
Sport for Disabilities
Everyone has a right to play sport
Ash says, “When you play sport, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from or disabilities. You just show up and you are a player”. She began #IPlayMyWay to amplify people’s voices and break down barriers and culture: for every parent or carer who feels isolated and feels that they don’t have time to play; for children with additional needs who might struggle with the traditional way sport is organised and carried out.
The benefits of play
With four children with additional needs, Ash has become an expert on all things NDIS. Whilst she was able to secure one-on-one therapies for her kids, they didn’t allow practising their learnings in the real world. Ash sees sport as a ‘replica of early intervention’, especially as children learn through play. As there were no services available where her children could ‘play their way’, Ash decided to create and do it herself. With a team from her local area, she created an inclusive program to allow children to play ‘their way’. Ash noted that after three months her children had improved more developmentally than ever before, even in the midst of the pandemic and personal issues. They also benefited from the physical activity, the social connections, and a sense of belonging.
Sport for everyone, for all facets of life
Ash is advocating for #IPlayMyWay because by playing ‘their way’ to begin with, vulnerable individuals will become more confident in participating in school and community sporting programs. This is a huge part of the Australian lifestyle. Ash notes that sport is an integral part of our country’s culture. It is lonely for those who feel that they can’t be involved. Not to mention that sport has lifelong benefits that everyone should be able to access. Ash is striving to create equal opportunity. Along with breaking down barriers for people of all races, genders, and abilities. Everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy being active, no matter their situation.
You can follow the #IPlayMyWay on Instagram or visit our directory here for more inclusive sports and social activities.