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In search of a level playing field – the constraints and benefits of sport participation for people with intellectual disability.

This paper presents the results of a study seeking to examine the experiences of people with intellectual disability in a sporting context. The research design employed an online, interviewer-completed questionnaire in both a standard and an easy English version designed for administration by a third party for those requiring assistance to respond. Questions sought both quantitative responses about levels of participation and qualitative responses about constraints experienced and benefits received from participation. The results of the study show high levels of participation reported by people who are independent or have lower to moderate support needs, whereas people with high to very high support needs had substantially lower levels of participation. Constraints are examined for both those who participate in sport and those who do not. For those who do participate, the benefits were identified as overwhelmingly social in nature, including belonging, companionship and achievement.