Named as the biggest yet, the Mid North basketball carnival for students with disabilities took place last Thursday and Friday at Donaldson Stadium, providing students across the region with opportunities to socialise which they usually miss out on.
The carnival is a favourite among many students and this year a total of 91 students from Whyalla, Port Augusta, Clare, Kadina and Port Pirie came along, bringing 10 teams together for the highly anticipated event of the year.
This year’s two-day event followed foot in the celebrations for the Special Olympics, with a torch run into the stadium, assisted by students to officially open the carnival.
Graeme Frick, a classroom teacher at Mid North Education Centre and convener of the Mid North basketball carnival for students with disabilities says that they want to continue the awareness of the Olympics and remind the students that they do have the ability to compete.
“The interaction is the best thing, kids with disabilities do not get the opportunities”, Mr Frick said.
The interaction is the best thing, kids with disabilities do not get the opportunitiesGraeme Frick
“They can’t join social clubs, footy clubs or netball clubs because they struggle to understand the rules, many struggle with coordination and capability.”
“As they get older, the gap between them and their peers get wider and it makes it very hard for them. To compete on the same level, they all achieve.”
Educators see a noticeable difference among their students after the carnival with many proving to achieve activities, previously thought they were unable to do.
“Some of them come out learning things. For us as teachers and staff, we suddenly find that some students can do things that we were not aware of before. I have a student who I thought would detest basketball, he actually adores it and could not wait for the carnival”, Mr Frick explained.
The carnival originally had the aim to provide students from around the region with the opportunity to compete, but now confidence has grown and the competitive nature has emerged and the carnival is really enjoyable for students and staff.
On the Thursday night, all students are invited to a dinner and disco, which for many is the highlight of the event. “The kids love it, it is a place for them to belong and it makes many memories of the carnival”, Mr Frick said.