My name is Tânia Bastos, I am thirty-seven years old and I am assistant professor at the University of Porto, Portugal.
When I started my bachelor in Physical Education and Sport my dream was to be a physical education teacher. At the time, I had no knowledge about Adapted Physical Activity or Parasport and had no previous contact with persons with disabilities (friends, colleagues or family). During my academic course, I found my real professional vocation when attending to a unit about Adapted Physical Activity. The experiences, knowledge and personal impact arising from the contact with athletes with disabilities indelibly marked my life and guided my future choices at both academic and professional levels. It was the beginning of a new love…the passion for the Paralympic Movement and the desire to make a difference in someone’s life using sport as a mean to empower persons with disabilities. I played different roles (e.g., inclusive physical education teacher or coach in a local club) in the sport sector targeting children and adults with disabilities, mental illness or other specific conditions.
Nowadays, I dedicate my life teaching and training my students (i.e., future physical education teacher, coaches or technicians in disability sport field) to work with persons with disabilities. As a teacher, mother and citizen my purpose is to raise social awareness in the direction of an all-inclusive society. I truly believe that through sport people with disability achieve excellence in life. It is my individual responsibility to contribute to the development of an equitable society with equal opportunities for all the persons and to educate the new generations on inclusive values.
Tânia Bastos PhD, Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Portugal