Dr Lynn Jensen

Biography

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Children with disabilities want to have fun just like any other child. So why don’t we make it easier for them to participate in our sporting communities? Ever since high school, Lynn had her sights set on exploring mobility and function in both children and those with disabilities, to help improve their motion and involvement with physical activity. She had a long academic path, working her way from a Bachelor of Science, to a PhD which explored motor development in infants. Lynn is now a paediatric physiotherapist who works at Curtin University and has multiple research projects ticking away. Her current work involves essential research surrounding physical literacy in infants, which is where they learn lifelong skills through physical movement. Her other main project also involves movement and function in children with a disability known as cerebral palsy.

Summary of research

“If you want to play, we will find a way”

Starkick Program Motto
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One of Lynn’s most recent projects involved looking at the benefits of the Starkick program which was founded and launched by the Coolbinia Bombers Junior Football Club. It is a program welcome to any children who by circumstance or choice are unable to join the club’s existing Auskick program. Starkick runs alongside Auskick, creating an inclusive environment where children with disabilities can socialise and become physically active without being segregated away from the rest of the football community. The main benefits often associated with getting children with disabilities physically active and involved with sport are those relating to physical health. However, Lynn’s studies found that one of the greatest benefits was that children who participated in Starkick had increased self-esteem and enjoyment of physical activities.


Problems to research for FLL:

How can we encourage children and adolescents to be more physically active and involved in sporting communities?

  • Consider different levels of authority. What can parents do? What can local councils do? What can schools do?
  • Think about what makes children and adolescents different to the rest of the population.
  • What are the biggest hurdles which currently dissuade children to be physically active?

How can we encourage people with disabilities to be more physically active and involved in sporting communities?

  • Consider different levels of authority. What can parents do? What can local councils do? What can schools do?
  • Think about the physical, mental and emotional challenges which may present due to different disabilities.
  • Don’t forget to also consider what will make people more comfortable, not just able to participate.

How can we change existing sporting rules, equipment and environments to encourage people with various disabilities to play a particular sport?

  • What disabilities are out there and which are most common?
  • Think about the physical, mental and emotional challenges which may present due to different disabilities.
  • How can you cater for a wide range of disabilities when each have different symptoms and restrictions?
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Lynn’s tip for solving these problems:

If you are solving a problem for a particular demographic or community of people, don’t forget to ask them what they think! If these are the people who are most affected by the problem, you want to see the problem from their perspective and involve them in the process of forming a solution.


Learn more about Starkick:

Have a look at some of the football clubs in Perth which have their own Starkick programs:

Contact The Researchers

To contact Lynn Jensen who was involved in research with the Starkick program, use the following email:

L.jensen@curtin.edu.au