When Perth mum Lisa Duffield signed her son Boyd up to play cricket for the first time, he was six years old and struggling to understand instructions. Now the young man has played for Australia and experienced benefits from the sport far beyond the cricket pitch.
Lisa said Boyd, whose intellectual disability became apparent at four years old, was desperate to play cricket “just like his older brother” Scott and when he was around six years old he joined the local MILO in2CRICKET kids program.
“He’s always been quite sporty and had good ball skills and he’s always been a real trier and everything his brother could do he could do and he wanted to be included with the other guys,” she told Mamamia.
"Boyd had behavioural and speech issues back then - he still can occasionally. So it was beneficial to him to be around other kids and take instructions from other adults, like the coaches. I did notice a difference in his behaviour."
"Sport certainly helps your confidence... And also it keeps kids fit."
Lisa found that it's also beneficial for parents when children with disabilities get involved in a team sport, adding that Boyd also plays in an all-abilities division for a local Aussie rules football club.
"It gets the parents out socialising because sometimes it's quite isolating for the parents, feeling like they can't be included in an activity. Most sporting clubs are very welcoming.
"It gives them an outlet and a chance to mix with other parents who are going through the same issues."