Implementation of 30 minutes of daily physical activity in facilities for disabled children

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Geneviève Gueydan (Igas), Myriam Grafto et Sacha Kallenbach (IGESR)

The Igas-IGESR mission on the rollout of 30 minutes of daily physical activity (DPA) within facilities admitting disabled children set out to identify the conditions that ensure the effectiveness and sustainability of the approach. Indeed, while the stakeholders in the sector seem convinced of the benefits of increasing physical and sporting activity (PSA) within medical and social services and facilities (ESMS), the effective and generalised rollout of 30 minutes of DPA does not seem to be a given in a context where other priorities are prevailing: responding to recruitment difficulties and financial pressures, implementing the overhaul of the medical and social offering. 

Furthermore, while, as demonstrated by a survey produced in 2018 by the General Directorate of Social Cohesion and the Sports Directorate, PSA are already fully present within almost all facilities for children (94%), with practices that are often diversified and enriched by external partnerships (principally with the network of adapted sports and parasports federations), these activities do not currently reach all children within the facilities and they are far from being daily. According to the survey, 25% of the children and teenagers in facility practised PSA, and for a duration usually varying from 1 to 2 hours per week. The practice is significantly lower in facilities admitting children with multiple disabilities. It should also be noted that fewer than half of all facilities for children have a sports teacher or adapted PE teacher within their teams, although a number of them bring in qualified external staff. 

The “step” to cross in order to roll out the 30 minutes of DPA is therefore potentially too big for many facilities, particularly since PSA is perceived as one activity among numerous others. Rolling out DPA in ESMS requires firstly detailed individualisation according to the children’s disability status, and also adjusting the individual and collective timetables of the children, evolving the practices of the educational teams to bring more physical activities into their support on a daily basis, establishing new partnerships in order to enhance the activities offering, and putting in place the logistical conditions for this daily practice (premises, equipment, etc.). The establishment of DPA cannot be taken for granted and will gain from being facilitated and supported within a dynamic supported at both national and territorial level.