How we develop, expand, and maintain our efforts to increase the participation of children with special needs and disabilities in leisure and community organizations.
Who are we
Specialsport is a volunteer-based non-profit NGO that works to ensure that all children and young people with special needs and disabilities can be part of an active leisure and association community.
Our goal is to transform society to recognize the right of all children to participate in association life and leisure activities, with a special focus on children and young people with special needs and disabilities in special schools.
Our vision is that by 2025, we will have introduced 75% of all special schools in Denmark to our sports practice method, which helps their students to engage in extracurricular activities through a systematic effort at their school, so that the many positive potentials of association life for personal, social and health development will also be accessible to all students with special needs and disabilities for years to come.
What we do
The five pillars of our work
Mapping of opportunities
We share knowledge about specialsport. We publish physical guides and have developed the world’s first online portal that combines barrier-reducing search criterias and club opportunities for people with disabilities.
Support for children and families
Advice on leisure activity options and practical help with anything that might stand in the way of participation.
Vi arbejder fx med barnets motivation, økonomisk hjælp, praktisk støtte i aktiviteten og ledsagelse.
Collaboration with clubs
Help with starting special teams, including advice on inclusion of children and young people with special needs and disabilities in associations. Practical help, training tools, courses for coaches and leaders, and help finding participants for the teams.
Collaboration with schools
Proven concept for reaching special school children in middle school and above by identifying students’ wishes for leisure activities. Handheld introduction to club life in close collaboration with school staff and parents.
Development of data and knowledge
Development and dissemination of data and knowledge about children and young people’s conditions for leisure and association life when they have a special need or disability.
Our code of ethics as we work to transform society to fulfill the right of all children and young people to an active leisure life.
- We develop our work and organization together with volunteers, working side by side to help families, innovate and co-create projects.
- We strive to be an organization for and with people with disabilities and to have an inclusive mindset, no matter what barriers arise when working as an employee or volunteer.
- Volunteering is a basic condition in the organization – even when you are employed on paid terms.
- As a paid employee in the organization, you are always responsible for bringing volunteerism into your work area, with guidance and development as a guideline – whether it’s the volunteer guiding the paid employee or vice versa.
- Everyone in the organization must ensure a good balance between working at Specialsport.dk and other parts of their lives.
- We strive for growth for our mission – not growth for our organization.
- We work to create and promote equality regardless of disability, gender, ethnicity and socio-economic factors.
- To ensure the sustainability of our efforts, we always strive to anchor our long-term solutions outside the organization.
Rules of the game
The basic principles of how we work with children and their families.
- All children can benefit from and find joy in leisure activities and communities.
- Anything that stands in the way of bringing a child closer to an active leisure life, we see as a barrier that it is our responsibility to remove.
- We don’t let go of a child and family that needs our support until the mission is complete.
- A thorough assessment of each child’s needs is necessary to select an appropriate after-school activity.
- We always focus on the child’s needs and not the child’s disability.
- We always listen to the voice of the child and know that each child is doing the best they can in the situation.
- Our approach to children and young people in communities is based on the basic principles of Low Arousal thinking and techniques.
- It is never the child that needs to be adapted to an activity. It is the activity that needs to find the right way to include the child.
- We use principles from behavioral design when working with families and associations.
- It must be easy for families to access our help and support.
- We seek to empower all stakeholders in special sports, including children, families, associations, schools and municipalities.
- We follow an evidence-based methodology and go to great lengths to align our practice with the most current and solid scientific evidence.
How we operate the organization
Our workplace, employees and recruitment
- We have 9 employees sharing 5 full-time positions, around 60 volunteers and 7 volunteer board members.
- We have one central office, located in the Capital Region of Denmark, which is funded by donations. We are flexible in terms of where the office is located depending on which company donates space. Right now we are located in the City of Copenhagen.
- We also work from home offices and from ‘once a week office space’ at special schools in different locations (currently at schools in Aarhus, Rødovre and Copenhagen).
- We welcome internships, flex jobs, work trials, students and more.
- We meet online and communicate about work via a visual online platform (Trello) that negates time and place while creating a good workflow and easy accessibility for people with attention deficit disorder.
- We run our internal communication in both Danish and English, and are happy to collaborate with volunteers from abroad and foreigners living in Denmark for shorter or longer periods of time.
- We create interest-based work teams that bring together volunteers for learning or development tasks, and we strive to make Specialsport.dk a place where volunteers can grow and become more skilled.
Our economy and business partners
The basics of our economy
- Our annual accounts and reports are available on our website for every year since 2014.
- In 2019, we became nationwide and meet the requirements to apply for public operating grants.
- Our main sponsor in 2022-24 is the Egmont Foundation.
- We have operating agreements with various municipalities.
- In addition, we continuously apply for various pools and foundations, and we apply for sponsorship support for specific items and activities.
- We try to get sponsorship for everything we do. For example, we get sponsored office equipment.
- We place a high value on quality when it comes to materials and tools for the work we do with families and children.
- We have developed a purchasing policy that balances the need for quality and price, and we always get multiple quotes before making purchases.
- We have strict internal policies on how we handle our accounting and payments. We work in accordance with government guidelines and requirements for public institutions, and our accounts are audited by a certified auditor.