Making Sports and Dance fit for All Kids: An International AllPlay Model

Making Sports and Dance fit for All Kids: An International AllPlay Model
April 16, 2019
A Powerful Partnership
August 22, 2019

We are proud to announce that Deakin University and the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) have developed a research collaboration to combine a unique and world-first opportunity to introduce the AllPlay model of inclusion to the global market.

The AllPlay program is an initiative of the Deakin Child Study Centre, based within the School of Psychology, Faculty of Health, Deakin University and brings together research and sporting excellence so all children, regardless of ability, can play, dance and learn.

Across the world, participation in organised sport is an important and usual part of childhood. However, one in five children may face barriers to participation due to a disability or developmental challenge.

One of the first initiatives of the Deakin University-UCLA collaboration was to co-host a conference on 26-27 Apri 2019. The conference created a forum to discuss the importance of organised physical activity for children with developmental challenges and develop a policy statement to advocate for increased access and support for these programs. The Deakin University-UCLA partnership includes activity required to scope, test and develop a long-term US AllPlay strategy.

This ground-breaking event brought together child neurology UCLA CART colleagues Rujuta B Wilson, Shafali Jeste, Christopher Giza, as well as Deakin University colleagues David Austin and Jane McGillivray, the ACEing Autism team, New York City Ballet, Queensland Ballet and other leaders in the field to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the one in five children who may face barriers to participation. It was an honour to be in the company of Pam Shriver and Vania King, who generously supported the ACEing Autism program with their time and exceptional skills!


L-R: Rujuta B. Wilson (UCLA CART), Pam Shriver (Tennis Champion), Mallory Van Laeken (Moose Toys), Rebecca Manlinguis
(Moose Toys), Nicole Rinehart (AllPlay, Deakin University)

UCLA houses one of the world’s preeminent autism centres, called the Centre for Autism Research and Treatment (CART). CART has been named a National Institute of Health Autism Centre of Excellence for three consecutive grant cycles (more than 15 years), the only centre in the country holding this distinction. CART combines expertise in neuroscience, psychology, psychiatry, neurology, and intervention to provide the best clinical and research programs for infants, children and adults with neurodevelopmental conditions and their families.

Dr Shafali Jeste, Director of the UCLA Centre for Autism Research and Treatment speaks about the exciting collaboration between AllPlay and UCLA: “UCLA has been building a partnership with Deakin University on specific research areas, but this type of large scale program fits perfectly with the vision of UCLA CART, which is to apply evidence-based, cutting edge research to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities, particularly through educational and service programs in the broader Los Angeles community and beyond.”

Professor Nicole Rinehart, Director of the Deakin Child Study Centre and founder of the AllPlay program says: “We are delighted that the AllPlay program is quickly becoming a world-leading resource through building alliances across Australia and around the globe with those keen to learn from the AllPlay model to make inclusion a reality. These events bring us ever closer to our goal of a world where the playing field is truly equal”.

About the conference:

April 26th Day 1 – AllPlay Conference: Bringing together international researchers, thought leaders, and leading organisations focused on engaging children in organised physical sports activities: with educational presentations and workshops to prepare policy statements.
April 27th Day 2 – AllPlay launch day with ACEing Autism Tennis Organisation:
AllPlay modeled tennis session for children and families, presentations from ACEing Autism and Deakin University.

The conference was made possible by a generous contribution from our corporate partner Moose Toys.

A special thank you to Mr Glenn Abell President and General Manager of Moose Toys USA, for opening the conference and supporting event.

Moose Toys and AllPlay share a very simple yet powerful mission: to make children happy. The partnership has grown from Moose committing as the seeding donor four years ago, to becoming an integral element in growing the AllPlay program, including expansion into new activities and new countries.

Their collaboration exemplifies the power of corporate and philanthropic efforts working in tandem to be an agent for positive change. Moose are proud of what AllPlay has achieved in such a short period of time and grateful for the opportunity to support the AllPlay and UCLA CART conference so that the impact of this program can flourish.

For the past 4 years we have worked closely with Professor Nicole Rinehart and her amazing team at Deakin University to bring the AllPlay program to life. Globally, 1 in 5 children have a learning disability and often they do not have the same opportunities to play sport, to dance, to be part of a team.The research conducted over the past 4 years with Australian Rules Football has had immediate impact with commercially viable tools developed for parents, coaches and teachers to use with children with learning disabilities. The results have been phenomenal and the team have only just scratched the surface of what is possible. We are proud to be the seed partner that has helped AllPlay grow to where it is today and to support the collaboration between Deakin University and UCLA to continue this vital research to help “make the world fit for all kids”. Belinda Gruebner – Moose Toys