Finnish Sports Association for Persons with Disabilities

In the mainstream and with peer support – paths to a world of sports and physical activity

Finnish Sports Association for Persons with Disabilities (VAU) is a non-govermental umbrella sports organization for persons with disabilities in Finland. VAU plans, executes and develops sports and physical activity for physically and intellectually disabled people, visually impaired people and transplant recipients.

In the field of Finnish sports and physical activity VAU falls in to the category of service organizations because of its diverse activities. For example VAU offers knowledge and education that helps to develop accessibility in sports facilities. On the other hand VAU is also a national sports federation which organizes sports activities for such disability specific sports that don’t have its own national sports federation in able-bodied sports (eg. boccia and goalball).

VAU coordinates the processes of integration and inclusion with an objective to tie disability sports and adapted physical activity more closely together with sports and physical activity of able-bodied persons. Practically it means that more and more disabled athletes could train and compete within mainstream sports clubs that are members of able-bodied national sports federations.

VAU offers education and training, consultation and evaluation for the parties that are involved in the processes of integration and inclusion. In many sports integration work is done in cooperation of VAU and national sports federation or in trident cooperation between VAU, national sports federation and Finnish Paralympic Committee.

VAU offers professional expertise in the field of disability sports for athletes, professionals and students both nationally and locally. Ideas, tools and resources are within everybody’s reach. VAU is also an active actor internationally.

In the mainstream and with peer support

The main activities of Finnish Sports Association for Persons with Disabilities are children and youth, recreational sports, competitive sports and organizational activities. Supporting activities are regional work, education and training and communications. Special Olympics Finland is part of VAU’s activities.

Associations and clubs who organize physical activity for disabled people are the main members of VAU. There are no personal members in VAU. VAU is a national actor and lobbyist of its members and obeys the ethical codes and principles of sports and physical activity.

VAU’s office is located in Helsinki, the capital of Finland.