Moose Foundation supports Deakin Child Study Centre to make ALL children happy

As Deakin Professor Nicole Rinehart’s young children became increasingly involved in sports, she began to reflect on the challenges faced by children with developmental and language difficulties as they tried to do the same.

A clinical psychologist with more than 20 years of experience and research expertise in childhood neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, Asperger’s disorder and ADHD, Professor Rinehart set about finding a solution.

The answer was AllPlay, a world-first digital resource developed by Professor Rinehart and her team of expert researchers at the Deakin Child Study Centre and clinicians from Deakin’s School of Psychology.

AllPlay merges the latest research with sporting excellence to provide coaches, parents, sports clubs and health professionals with practical resources to make sport an inclusive and welcoming experience for all children.

A generous game changing $2 million donation from the Moose Foundation – $1 million each for AllPlay Footy and its indigenous counterpart, AllPlay Betta Footy – allowed program development to begin in 2016.

The first phase of the program, AllPlay Footy, kicked off in March 2016 in partnership with the AFL. The second phase, AllPlay Dance, begins this month and has received funding from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

Professor Rinehart explained that AllPlay Dance builds on the success of AllPlay Footy and AllPlay Betta Footy.

“AllPlay is all about creating inclusive environments for all children wherever they learn, play, dance and engage in the community,” Professor Rinehart said.

“AllPlay Footy’s resources were developed together with expert psychologists, paediatricians, educators, physiotherapists and child psychiatrists.

“AllPlay Dance adopts this model and focusses on changing teaching style, adapting genre and choreography, the equipment used and the dancing environment to enable real inclusion.”

Deakin University Vice Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander cited the support of the Moose Foundation and Moose Toys as the key factor in making AllPlay a reality.

“Philanthropy has a transformative role in innovating to fill the gap where government and business cannot always go. To me, it’s a co-investment in an asset that is critical to Australia’s future,” Professor den Hollander said.

“The Moose Toys gift highlights beautifully what can be achieved through the power of philanthropy.  Without their faith in the Deakin vision, the AllPlay program would not be possible.”

“I’m very proud of the Deakin Child Study Centre as it exemplifies so much of what is really important to our future – a multidisciplinary approach, innovation in research and perhaps most importantly, the Centre brings researchers and industry together to make a real difference to the communities Deakin serves.”

Ms Belinda Gruebner, Executive Vice President Global Marketing at Moose Toys (home of the Moose Foundation), said the organisation hoped the study would have widespread benefits.

“Our partnership with AllPlay allows us to live our mission (to make children happy) daily and the program has become the cornerstone of our community program,” Ms Gruebner said.

“The work Professor Nicole Rinehart and her team at AllPlay are doing is driving a fundamental change to children around the globe who have a disability.

“We are very proud to support this world-first initiative and are highly motivated by the results of the research positively impacting children in Australia and internationally.”

To find out more about the AllPlay initiative and the new AllPlay Dance program, visit the AllPlay website.

Researcher profile: Professor Nicole Rinehart

Director of the Deakin Child Study Centre, Chair of Clinical Psychology at Deakin University, Honorary Research Fellow at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, and Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Melbourne Children’s Clinic.

Nicole’s area of practice and research expertise is in the field of childhood neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, Asperger’s disorder and ADHD.

She established the Deakin Child Study Centre in 2013 to create a new platform in the community for researchers and industry to come together and make a real difference in the lives of children who face developmental challenges.

Nicole has recently established a national partnership with the Australian Football League (AFL), Moose Toys, and the National Disability Insurance Agency to conduct the ‘biggest game changer for children with a disability’ in Australian sports to date – the establishment of the website.

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