Inclusion is How Peak Sports Bodies Roll

By Tenpin Bowling Australia
February 25, 2021

Written By Andrea Phillips – Special Olympics Australia

A NEWLY minted partnership between Special Olympics Australia and Tenpin Bowling Australia will provide more participation opportunities and pathways for people with a disability.

Both organisations want to encourage more Australians to be more physically active through providing inclusive physical activity programs.

Tenpin Bowling Australia offers inclusive programs in bowling centres and schools including its ‘learn to bowl’ program for primary school-aged children, Bowl Patrol, and Bowl Abilities, for older teens and adults with a disability.

Bowl Abilities participants learn the basic skills of tenpin bowling, socialise, and increase their activity levels.

Tenpin Bowling Australia encourages coaches and facilitators wanting to deliver its inclusive programs to complete its Lane Ranger training, which includes Special Olympics Australia online courses available through its online learning platform, SOA Learn.

“Partnering with National Sporting Organisations is vital to getting more children involved in inclusive sport.”

– Pierre Comis, Special Olympics Australia’s Head of Schools and Participation

SOA Learn courses help coaches improve their delivery of sport and physical activity for people with intellectual disability and autism.

Lane Ranger trainees complete SOA Learn coaching courses called ‘Improving Sport for People with Intellectual Disability’ and ‘An Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder’.

The partner organisations will encourage Special Olympics clubs to offer Bowl Patrol and Bowl Abilities as introductory programs.

Emily Rennes, Tenpin Bowling Australia’s Sport Development and Programs Manager, said that offering the programs could help Special Olympics Australia to grow its membership.

Tenpin bowling suits people with disabilities because it can be modified easily and bowling venues are a safe and enjoyable environment, Rennes said.

Special Olympics Australia and Tenpin Bowling Australia will also work together to run all-abilities bowling programs in schools, which will be funded through the Australian Government’s Sporting Schools initiative.

Programs are delivered by specially trained coaches, with additional support and resources provided by Special Olympics Australia to increase their confidence to teach children with disabilities.

Pierre Comis, Special Olympics Australia’s Head of Schools and Participation, said: “Partnering with National Sporting Organisations to adapt the programs they provide through Sporting Schools is vital to building the capacity of the sector and getting more children involved in inclusive sport.”


Special Olympics Australia strives to ensure that everyone living with an intellectual disability can participate in sport. We provide:

  • Weekly grassroots sporting, recreational, social and health activities in local communities around Australia.
  • An environment where people with an intellectual disability can develop physical fitness, build self-esteem, demonstrate courage, and make friends.
  • Competition pathways ranging from weekly club events, to regional, state, and national games, culminating in the Special Olympics World Games.


Special Olympics Australia’s e-learning platform, SOA Learn, helps coaches, teachers and other front-line sport deliverers improve their effectiveness in including people with intellectual disabilities and autism in sport. It comprises resources built on best practice information and provides perspectives from people with intellectual disability and autism to inform provision of inclusive sports programs.

Courses currently available include:

Autism Inclusion in Sport, Recreation and Physical Education Webinar Series: Practical strategies to include people with autism in sport, physical education, and recreation programs.

Young Athletes Coaching Course: Practical tips and resources to help community coaches, educators and parents teach young children foundational movement skills through play.

An Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder: Practical approaches that coaches, teachers, and anyone else can use to create welcoming and engaging sport programs for people with autism.

Improving Sport for People with Intellectual Disability: Supports community sports clubs and schools to include people with intellectual disabilities in sport.

SOA Activity Cards and Activity Cards Coaches’ Guide: Resources to support coaches to deliver sport and physical activity to people of all abilities.

SOA Learn has a growing number of registered users, currently totalling more than 3500.

Written by Andrea Phillips – Special Olympics Australia – Original Article