About Intellectual Disability or Autism tennis opportunities

Tennis Australia, in conjunction with Member Associations, is committed to embracing diversity by ensuring our sport and events welcoming, safe and inclusive for everyone. We believe that being inclusive is reflecting the diversity of our local communities and that everyone should have the opportunity to be included and engaged through tennis in a way that is positive and meaningful.

Inclusion is about providing choice for people to participate in sport in a way that they feel comfortable. As well as mainstream tennis opportunities, there are a variety of initiatives that people with an intellectual disability or autism can choose to participate in.

As well as mainstream tournaments tennis also provides a range of elite competitive pathway opportunities:

  • PWII National Tournaments and Camps
  • Australian Tennis Championships
  • Virtus World Tennis Championships
  • Global Games
  • Special Olympics

If you want to understand more about the range of opportunities, activities and programs available please contact us at [email protected].

Our commitment

Tennis Australia is committed to increasing opportunities and accessibility to tennis for people who have an intellectual disability or autism people through:

  • Engagement with stakeholders and community
  • Educating clubs and coaches
  • Providing pathway opportunities
  • Creating equal playing opportunities through community events and tournaments

Partnerships

We are proud to work alongside our partners to grow the game for participants who have an intellectual disability or autism across Australia and around the world. Our partners have guided us on updating policies and procedures, ensuring inclusion of people who have an intellectual disability or autism to participate in tennis at all levels, whether that be as a player, official, spectator, volunteer or staff.

Sport Inclusion Australia

Sport Inclusion Australia (SIA) formerly AUSRAPID, is a national sporting organisation established in 1986 to assist the inclusion of people with an intellectual disability into the mainstream community using sport as the medium. Sport Inclusion Australia has worked within the Australian sporting sector with outstanding success and is proud of the increasing numbers of sporting organisations and clubs taking responsibility for inclusion with the focus on ability and based on social inclusion principles.

Visit www.sportinclusionaustralia.org.au.

Special Olympics Australia

Special Olympics has grown from a backyard camp into a global movement that has been transforming the lives of people with an intellectual disability for almost 50 years. The global sporting community was pioneered by the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister to US President John F Kennedy as well as Rosemary, who had an intellectual disability. Today, Special Olympics supports over 5 million athletes in 177 countries.
Special Olympic Australia provides participants with an intellectual disability or autism opportunities to play sport, and to open doors to personal achievement, pride and inclusion.

Visit www.specialolympics.com.au.

Am I eligible?

Below is an outline of the Eligibility Criteria to participate in our programs and events:

Classification Eligibility Criteria PWII Tennis Tournaments
II-1
Intellectual disability
– full-scale IQ score of 75 or lower;
– significant limitations in adaptive behaviour;
– onset before age 18
– PWII Silver Series
– PWII State Tournaments
– Australian Tennis Championships
– Virtus World Tennis Championships
– Global Games
– Special Olympics Events
II-2
Significant intellectual disability
(this group is currently restricted to athletes with Down syndrome – excluding Mosaic DS)
– a formal diagnosis of Trisomy 21 or Translocation Down syndrome;
– for safety, athletes must not have symptomatic Atlantoaxial Instability (AAI)
– athletes with Mosaic Down syndrome may compete in II-1 above
– PWII Silver Series
– PWII State Tournaments
– Australian Tennis Championships
– Virtus World Tennis Championships
– Global Games
– Special Olympics Events
II-3
High Functioning Autism
– a full-scale IQ score of above 75, OR a diagnosis of no intellectual disability, and;
– a formal diagnosis of Autism or ASD
Note: athletes with Autism who meet the criteria for II-1 Intellectual Disability will be classified in that class
– PWII Silver Series
– PWII State Tournaments
– Australian Tennis Championships
– Special Olympics Events
Special Olympics
We acknowledge that some athletes with an intellectual disability may not fall into one of the above classifications. For these athletes, there are a number of Special Olympic events they may be eligible to compete in. More information: http://specialolympics.com.au/index.php/join/
Want more information on how to get classified, or what’s required?
Sport inclusion Australia: https://sportinclusionaustralia.org.au/eligibility/
Special Olympics Australia: http://specialolympics.com.au/index.php/join/eligibility

Click here for more information on the Tennis Australia PWII Talent Pathway.

International playing opportunities

The Special Olympics

The Special Olympics is the world’s largest sporting event for athletes with an intellectual impairment. Find out how you can get involved:

> Special Olympics Australia
> Special Olympics

The Global Games

The Global Games is for athletes with an intellectual impairment.

> learn more about the Global Games

Virtus World Tennis Championships

Virtus is the International Association of Sport for athletes with an intellectual impairment. Virtus manage elite competition and promote inclusion worldwide.

> Learn more about the Virtus World Tennis Championships

Success stories

Archie Graham is a four-time world tennis champion and co-captain of the Australian INAS Global Games 2019 team. Inspired by his coach and mentor, Stan Cuthbert, Archie is working towards a career as a coach so he can share his skills, experience and love of the game with the next generation of players.

The Australian Tennis Championships is a yearly tournament for all participants who have an intellectual disability or autism. The event is held during the Australian Open event.

For more information, please contact [email protected] or contact your local Member Association to find out what programs are available in your area.