AAA Play Ambassadors to represent Australia at INAS World Championships

October is shaping up to be a VERY busy month, and your team at AAA Play are practically off their feet with events, presentations, forums, new activities popping up…you name it!

The great news, of course, is this means more opportunities for Victorians living with disability to engage with sport and recreation.

Check out a couple of these options below, along with some amazing news about two of our AAA Play Ambassadors!

‘Wandering & Water Safety’ Community Information Session

On Tuesday 23 October, this free community information session will be held in partnership with The Victorian Government, The I CAN Network, Autism Swim, and The Wellbeing Project at Live Saving Victoria in Port Melbourne.

We know that:

  • Aquatic based sport and recreation enhances well-being and quality of life
  • Nearly half of children with autism attempt to wander or bolt from a safe, supervised place; sometimes into dangerous situations
  • Children with autism are 160 times more likely to drown than their peers

Victorians of all abilities are water lovers and whilst the water is attractive, even therapeutic, it also has inherent dangers that need focused consideration. You are invited to join Erika (Autism Swim), Kieran (The Wellbeing Project), and Lana (Bronze Medallion lifesaver and autistic teenager) for an evening that aims to inform and educate on the topics of wellbeing, wandering, and water safety for people with autism.

For all details and to register, check out the following link: 

AAA Play Ambassadors to represent Australia at INAS World Championships

Sport Inclusion Australia announced today the team to represent Australia at the 2018 INAS World Half Marathon Championships in Coimbra, Portugal. The team of 6 athletes and a coach all hail from Victoria and will be Australia’s first representatives at the Championships.

We’re particularly proud of two of our AAA Play Ambassadors, Harry Mezger and Montgomery ‘Monty’ Cooper, who have made the team!

Harry Mezger, Carlo Manolitsas, Montgomery Cooper, Georgia Powning, Chloe Turner and Montana Whiteley are coached by Liz Gosper in Melbourne and will take on the gruelling 21.1km event wearing the Australian uniform for the first time.

The championship for athletes with an intellectual impairment is being run in conjunction with an annual mass participation event that is expected to see a field of over 7,000 competitors running through the historic city of Coimbra.  Australia has sent Athletics teams to all INAS Athletics World Championships but has not competed in the winter cross country and road running events. The 2018 INAS Half Marathon Championships will be run on Sunday 21 October.

“It is very exciting to see these athletes selected to represent Australia in this World Championship.” said Sport Inclusion Australia CEO Robyn Smith.

Athletes will not only be competing for individual honours, but with 3 male and 3 female athletes they will also be competing in the team competition as well.

At the recent Australian Cross Country Championships on the Sunshine Coast Mezger (19) and Powning (19) finished second in their respective events. Mezger is a current member of the Athletics Victoria talent id program as a middle distance runner. During the off season he runs cross country and competes regularly in triathlon and swimming events. Mezger also medalled on the track at the Australian junior Championships earlier this year in Sydney. When the opportunity came up to represent Australia Mezger grabbed it with both hands and has been focussed on the half marathon event ever since. “I love running and I have loved every training session, even the long dark wet runs through winter. We just called them adventure runs which gave us a great attitude to just keep pushing rain, hail, puddles whatever was thrown at us." Mezger said.

For Montana Whiteley and Montgomery Cooper it will be a family affair as Montana’s father and Montgomery’s mother are also travelling and will be taking part in the Open Half Marathon event run by Global Sport.

Australian Team
Harry Mezger (19)  South Yarra
Montgomery Cooper (18)  Beaumaris
Carlo Manolitsas (19) Malvern East
Georgia Powning (19) Kew
Chloe Turner (24) Albert Park
Montana Whiteley (19) Glen Iris

Werribee Gymnastics: ASD Play Gym Program Extended For 4th Term!

Following an overwhelming positive response to the two pilot ASD Play Gym sessions in the September school holidays, Werribee Gymnastics Club have announced that they will now be offering regular, weekly ASD Play Gym sessions on their Kindergym timetable.

Throughout the September school holidays, Werribee Gymnastics Club have been offering Play Gym sessions specifically for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Parents and carers of children with autism in the Wyndham community were thrilled that a program was offered that specifically catered to children with ASD, with unprecedented demand for both events.

Deanne Stark, Kindergym Co-ordinator at Werribee Gymnastics Club, has been a key driver in developing and piloting the program at the club.

“Families have really enjoyed the opportunity to experience a class that encourages their child to run, climb, swing, roll, balance and hang in a supportive environment with other families who understand the challenges of having a child with autism”, said Dee.

“Sadly, many families don't enrol their child into a sports class as they are worried how their child will 'fit in' or be accepted.  Our hope is that having a session specifically for children with autism it allows families to feel comfortable that no one is judging their child and the families can just enjoy and benefit from a class, like so many other families do.”

Katie, mother of Zach, said that he really enjoyed the session they attended at Werribee.

“Normally most autistic kids have very poor core strength and motor skills, so anything that they can do today is great for their coordination”, said Katie.

To find out more information about ASD Play Gym, visit Werribee Gymnastics Club’s Facebook page, or call 9742 5446.
If your club is interested in offering programming which supports participants with ASD, please contact Gymnastics Victoria’s Inclusion & Programs Manager, April Wilson at