On World Children’s Day, 20 November, we commemorate the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. It’s a day to reflect on the joys and challenges that come with childhood, and to remember that every child has the equal right to explore their passions, including sports. In this spirit, Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics is proud to be part of a groundbreaking research project that is making a significant impact on the lives of blind and visually impaired children and young adults. This project, in collaboration with Vision Sports Ireland, Vision Ireland and DCU’s School of Health and Human Performance, is shaping the future of sports participation for those with visual impairments.
Vision Sports Project: Empowering through Research
The Vision Sports Project is a remarkable initiative with the mission: to break down the barriers that limit sports participation among blind and visually impaired children, young people and adults. Through extensive research, this project aims to identify sport and leisure options, pinpoint issues, and dismantle the barriers that have long prevented this community from experiencing the joy, physical benefits, and social interactions that sports can provide.
At the heart of this endeavour is the belief that knowledge is the key to empowerment. By understanding the unique challenges faced by individuals with vision impairments, the research team is paving the way for a future where sports are accessible to all, regardless of their visual abilities. By shining a light on these issues, they are opening doors for those who may have felt excluded, and creating opportunities for a brighter, more inclusive future.
Dr Stephen Behan, project lead and collaborator with Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics says
“Everyone should have the opportunity to lead a healthy lifestyle, we hope this project helps identify the key factors of physical activity engagement in the blind and vision impaired population in Ireland. Through identifying the motivating factors and the barriers to being active, we can then make informed decisions on how to best intervene.”
One of the most inspiring aspects of the Vision Sports Project is its commitment to supporting visually impaired children as they grow into adulthood. By identifying the sport and leisure activities that resonate with these young individuals, the project aims to not only introduce them to sports but also help them sustain their passion throughout their lives. This long-term vision aligns perfectly with the ideals of World Children’s Day, which celebrates not only the present but also the future of our children.
Prof. Tomas Ward Director, Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics, Dublin City University says
“The Vision Sports Project is a testament to the power of transdisciplinary collaboration. It brings together expertise at Insight, Vision Sports Ireland, the Vision Ireland, and DCU’s School of Health and Human Performance. It exemplifies the idea that, by working together, we can achieve remarkable results and bring positive change to the lives of children and young adults.”
On World Children’s Day, let us celebrate the power of research, collaboration and inclusivity. The Vision Sports Project is a beacon of hope, illuminating the path to a future where blind and visually impaired children can fully embrace the joys of sports. Together, we can break down barriers and empower every child to follow their dreams, no matter where their vision takes them.
Photo L-R: Chris White, Padraig Healy, Kristina Millar, Prof Noel O’Connor, Dr Lisa Flynn Prof Daire Keogh, Dr Sarahjane Belton, Senator Martin Conway, Dr Amy Hall, Dr Stephen Behan & Aaron Mullaniff.