Sense Rugby is an Occupational Therapy led rugby program designed to help tamariki and rangatahi who usually find it difficult to be part of a sports team.

Sense Rugby NZ was established in July 2020 as a charitable trust after recognising that tamariki and rangatahi who live everyday life with disabilities and often “invisible” differences in their social, motor, learning, emotional regulation and communication skills have limited access to high-quality and consistent active recreation and sport opportunities.

Sense Rugby was originally designed with the neurodiverse community in mind, however, due to their OT’s having a great understanding of how to support many young people with diverse needs, they aim to make their program as accessible as they can.

Young people who engage with Sense Rugby may be Autistic, Dyspraxic, have  ADHD, or may have a Global Developmental Delay, Sensory Processing Disorder, Down Syndrome, Intellectual Disability, Cerebral Palsy, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Pathological Demand Avoidance, Anxiety, Vision & Hearing Loss, a Genetic Condition, or a Trauma background (please note this list is not exhaustive).

Some of the goals Sense Rugby supports tamariki, rangatahi and whānau to achieve include:

  • To have fun!

  • To develop their confidence and self-esteem

  • To find a regular activity that can be their own

  • To learn a new skill that gives them a new sports-based community to belong to for life

  • To find a way to get the movement they seek in a fun and sports-based way

  • To make some new friends and connect with their peers

  • To enhance their motor skills and build on their endurance

  • To learn how to follow instructions, wait their turn and be part of a group

  • To learn how to manage their emotions and improve their ability to self-regulate

Sense Rugby has a number of values and principles that ensures that the young people who join them, feel supported. Their primary focus is on creating a positive and successful experience: this allows them to work collectively with these young people, in a way that enables them to utilise their strengths and motivations to help them become active participants. In addition to working with youth one to one, Sense Rugby regularly provides a qualified Paediatric Occupational Therapist service, which is able to provide both clinical knowledge and hands-on experience, in supporting a diverse range of tamariki and rangatahi. Along with their health-led team, Sense Rugby's extensive use of visuals, language adaptations, sensory, environmental supports, and social-emotional coaching, ensures they meet the varied needs of participants to engage successfully. 

Region: Wellington


Monday Available via phone or email

Tuesday Available via phone or email

Wednesday Available via phone or email

Thursday Available via phone or email

Friday Available via phone or email

Saturday Closed

Sunday Closed

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