4th Annual Adapted Physical Activity Conference to Formally Launch the CARA APA Centre

APA Conference 2011 The Institute of Technology, Tralee in partnership with the CARA APA Centre and the Irish Sports Council hosted the 4th National Adapted Physical Activity Conference which took place at the Institute of Technology, Tralee on the 6th and 7th of May. The 2011 event was titled “APA in Ireland … Are We There Yet?

This years proceedings was an exciting and thought provoking event, with a number of profiled speakers travelling to the Kingdom for the conference. The 2011 conference also saw the formal opening of the official launch of the CARA APA Centre, an organisation which has been established for the purpose of co-ordinating, facilitating and advocating inclusion of people with disabilities in sport, physical activity and physical education. This Centre is jointly funded by the Irish Sports Council and the IT, Tralee.

Minister of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan TD opened the Conference on the evening of the 6th. This was followed by a presentation by John Treacy, Chief Executive of the Irish Sports Council who delivered an address on how we as a nation are facilitating people with disabilities to participate in various sports and physical activities. This address was then followed by the official launch of the CARA centre.

Saturdays event opened with a key note address by Peter Downs who outlined how the Australian Sports Commission has led the way in terms of ensuring active and substantial participation by people with disabilities in sport in Australia. Peter was Vice President of the International Federation of Adapted Physical Activity from 1998 - 2002, was awarded the Australian Sports Medal in 2001 and included in the Bulletin Magazine's Top 10 Smartest People in Sport in 2008. The second keynote speaker was Aoife Ni Mhuiri, Lecturer at the IT Tralee who presented a paper on the Halliwick Approach to teaching people with disabilities independence in the water and how this technique has been applied to an Irish context. Throughout Saturday a number of parallel sessions also ran in the areas of Inclusive Leisure Participation, Sport and Physical Education.

The Conference event closed with the official launch of the countdown to the European APA Conference which will take place in Kerry in May 2012. Over 400 delegates are expected to attend this international conference which will see an extensive gathering of many of the worlds practitioners, educators and researchers in the area of APA. Winning the bid to this European conference is testimony to the excellent and rapid development of APA in Ireland in recent years and the pioneering work of CARA, the Irish Sports Council and the ITT in this area. Those confirmed to date to present at the 2012 event include Donna Goodwin, Associate Professor, Faculty of Physical Education, University of Alberta, Mary Davis, Managing Director of Special Olympics Europe Eurasia (SOEE), Vicky Tolfrey, Senior Lecturer & Director of the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport and David Carless Senior Research Fellow (Mental Health and Physical Activity), Carnegie Research Institute.

APA Conference 2011 picture Saturdays event, opens with a key note address by Peter Downs who will outline how the Australian Sports Commission have led the way in terms of ensuring active and substantial participation by people with disabilities in sport in Australia. Peter was Vice President of the International Federation of Adapted Physical Activity from 1998 - 2002, was awarded the Australian Sports Medal in 2001 and included in Bulletin Magazine's Top 10 Smartest People in Sport in 2008. The second keynote speaker is Aoife Ni Mhuiri, Lecturer at the IT Tralee who will present a paper on the Halliwick Approach to teaching people with disabilities and how this technique has been applied to an Irish context. Throughout Saturday a number of parallel sessions will run in the areas of Inclusive Leisure Participation, Sport and Physical Education (programme attached).

The Conference will close with the official launch of the countdown to the European APA Conference, which following a successful bid by the ITT and CARA will take place in Kerry in May 2012. Over 400 delegates are expected to attend this international conference which will see an extensive gathering of many of the worlds practitioners, educators and researchers in the area of APA. Winning the bid is testimony to the excellent and rapid development of APA in Ireland in recent years and the pioneering work of CARA, the Irish Sports Council and the ITT in this area. Those confirmed to date to present at the 2012 event include Donna Goodwin, Associate Professor, Faculty of Physical Education, University of Alberta, Mary Davis, Managing Director of Special Olympics Europe Eurasia (SOEE), Vicky Tolfrey, Senior Lecturer & Director of the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport and David Carless Senior Research Fellow (Mental Health and Physical Activity), Carnegie Research Institute.

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