Let The Children Play!

Nicole Rinehart 

Far from sitting hidden by computers in a tiny research office, Professor Nicole Rinehart, Director of the Deakin Child Study Centre, has been the centre of attention this month, for all the right reasons. Nicole’s ALLPlay research into the barriers faced by children with developmental challenges such as autism, ADHD and Cerebral Palsy who want to play sport, has attracted a $1 million funding partnership with Melbourne-based Moose Toys, backing from the Australian Football League (AFL) and plenty of media interest.

AllPlay is a national project to enable children of all abilities access to sport. The ALLPlay research program will run over four years, kicking off next month with a national survey to capture the voice and lived experience of children, parents, and coaches from around Australia and help to refine the co-design of the ALLPlay resources toolkit for children, coaches and parents. Researchers are aiming to create an internationally significant research database that includes neurobehavioural, genetic, physical, psychological and social measures from Australian children with developmental challenge, across the country. The project is led by Deakin University in partnership with the AFL and research collaborators at Charles Darwin University, Perth’s Telethon Institute and the University of Melbourne.

Earlier this year, Nicole joined the first SPARK entrepreneurship workshop at Deakin to learn more about pitching her research to the investment community and how to turn ideas into products. Nicole said she enjoyed learning about other innovations in similar research spaces and more of what goes on behind product development for companies such as Uber and Apple. ‘We learned that the research pipeline on average from research finding to creating something useable is seventeen years,’ Nicole said. ‘In that time, only fourteen per cent of ideas translate to real life products.’ Nicole said she felt that researchers needed to learn much more about language that appeals to business and about business cases and strategies so that they can become ‘trail blazers…less reliant on government funding’.

Nicole’s journey from idea to launch of the ALLPlay program is outlined by Margaret Ambrose in a feature story for dKin Alumni magazine.

You can also read more about Nicole’s story in the Deakin media release from early November.

Further Reading:

Official AFL Media Release
Deakin Research News Article
dKin Magazine Article 
Deakin Invenio Article
Herald-Sun Article

Additionally the following link will take you to a short video

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