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10 Sep 2023 | 13:13

Coalition partners Access Sport and Women in Sport have teamed up with Nuffield Health and the Sweaty Betty Foundation to launch a research project aimed at supporting disabled girls and young women to be active.

The research project will seek to amplify the unique voice of disabled teenage girls and young women, who would otherwise be overlooked.

Women in Sport’s ‘Reframing Sport for Teenage Girls’ research has shown that too many are disengaging from physical activity in their teens. The research also highlights that inactivity is contributing to teenage girls experiencing worrying mental health issues, including being less happy, more anxious and increasingly dissatisfied with their appearance.


Disabled teenage girls are no exception to this disengagement. The gap in activity levels between disabled and non-disabled children increases as they get older. Between the ages of 14 and 16 years 48% of disabled children are "less active" compared to 28% of non-disabled children. Through Access Sport’s Changing Places and Changing Sports, the charity has observed that disabled teenage girls struggle to find sport and exercise that works for them. 

The need for this targeted research reflects the reality that teenage girls are not a homogenous group and often the unique experiences of disabled teenage girls can be lost when viewed through research focused solely on girls or disabled young people.


Ultimately, this new research will identify the barriers that prevent disabled teenage girls and young women from taking part in sport and provide guidance to make community sport more inclusive. According to Activity Alliance, increasing disabled teenage girls and young women's participation in sport is a key component of tackling the increasing mental issues young people are facing today.

How to support this project: 

We would appreciate your help to share this research with your network of disabled teenage girls and the organisations that work with them. There are two ways disabled teenage girls and young women can contribute to the research. The survey will be open from Monday 11th September to Friday 1st November and the Listening Labs will also take place in November.

Anonymous online survey – The project is looking for teenage girls and young women who are aged 11 to 19 years old and have the following to complete a survey: 

  • A disability or impairment 
  • A long-term health condition 
  • Are neurodivergent, this is a spectrum that covers a range of conditions such as ADHD, Autism, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, and Tourette's syndrome. 

Take the survey

The survey will close on Tuesday 31st October 2023. If you would like to access the survey in a different format please contact [email protected]

Listening Labs – The project is also looking for disabled teenage girls to participate in a group discussion about their experiences of sport and physical activity. If selected, participants will be offered a small financial token to thank them for their time.

Sign up here

Listening Labs will take place in November 2023.

Related news: Access Sport launches Inclusive Club Network to more than 300 community clubs that are transforming the lives of disadvantaged and disabled young people. Read more.