Often for us it is hard to think of fun things for Maya to do. I am dedicating this section to fun places, activities, and adventures we have heard about that provide opportunities for special needs children.
Directories for adaptive activities & camps
Disabled Sports USA-a national directory of adaptive sports near you.
AccessSportAmerica-A national non-profit organization founded in 1995, inspires higher function and fitness for children and adults of all disabilities through high-challenge sports and training.
Canadian residents–A new app called jooay allows people to learn about local recreation opportunities in their area.
Discover Camp– A resource guide for parents of children with disabilities selecting a camp for their child for the first time
SeriousFun Children’s Network-“Play with purpose”-30 camps and programs worldwide
American Camp Association-You may search a database of camps here. Their database allows you to limit your search criteria to include specifics such as catering to certain diagnoses, location, activities, cost etc.
Blaze Sports International Directory of Programs-*Thanks to a partnership between Reaching for the Stars and Blaze Sports, Summer of 2013 is the very first CP Sports Camp in Georgia! It’s located in Decatur, GA and is June 12-15 and is for ages 6-18. Here is a link to register.
The National Center on Physical Activity & Disability-You may find the regional guide helpful
TrailLink.com– A national directory of wheelchair accessible trails. This is a free service of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, which is a non-profit dedicated to helping local communities to convert unused railroad corridors into trails.
At home for the holidays or the summer? Check out this very helpful blog post from Mom Julie at Have Wheelchair Will Travel and get some great ideas for easy and inclusive activities you can do at home.
Free/Extremely Reduced Cost Activities
A link to Friendship Circle of Michigan discussing eligibility for FREE lifetime passes to Federal Parks in the US.
Kids can register to bowl free all summer long at participating bowling alleys throughout the US and Canada! Yes, wheelchair users can go bowling and Maya loves it! Here is a blog post our experience with a picture of what Maya uses. Ask your local bowling alley what they may have to accommodate you or your child.
Do you know of more? Tell us and we will add it here.
Articles about inclusion in extracurricular activities
More than Able: Measuring progress in the disabled sports arena-Fantastic article!
Four-year-old boy takes up ballet after losing limbs to meningitis-This is a fantastic article about getting creative to overcome inclusion obstacles and giving our kids the chance to show us what they can do instead of telling them and ourselves what they can’t
Accessible activities and special needs/inclusive camp directories by state*
*more comprehensive than above directories
Specific adaptive sports programs, activities & unique places
ArtShop–therapeutic art lessons for children and adults with disabilities–
“For people of all ages with cognitive or physical disabilities, the process of creating art can lead to self-empowerment and confidence. To make this experience accessible to someone with limitations is sometimes challenging. ArtShop therapy lessons offer practical approaches to facilitate art exploration, which enables anyone to successfully discover and develop artistic abilities that provide artistic self expression and creative opportunities.”
Beaches-Particularly wheelchair friendly and/or with beach wheelchair lending programs: California Coast Directory, Edisto Beach, South Carolina, Long Beach, New Jersey, Ocean City, Maryland. **Do you know more? Let me know where you like to go by e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blaze Sports– In 2002, USDAF launched a national program, BlazeSports America, in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association. Today they provide direct service in their founding state of Georgia as well as nationally and internationally in developing countries. BlazeSports is also affiliated with local BlazeSports teams/programs in more than 60 communities and 29 states and the District of Columbia.
Boccia–Today Boccia is a played competitively at national and international level by athletes who require a wheelchair because of their disability. In its current form, Boccia was originally played by athletes with cerebral palsy, but now includes athletes with other disabilities which affect motor skills.
Disney World-For guests with disabilities Here is a blog post I did about our experience at Disney World with Maya.
Disabled Sports USA–Their mission is to provide affordable inclusive physical and recreational activities that build health and confidence.
Lakeshore Foundation-Simply amazing! Lakeshore Foundation offers a wide range of fitness, recreation, athletic and education programs to children and adults with physical disabilities. I wish a place like this was in every major city in America.
Land and Sea Sports Club-Westhampton Beach, NY
Lose the Training Wheels-This is a bike camp with over 80 locations across the country. Their mission is to teach children with disabilities to ride a two-wheel bicycle and become life-long independent riders. **Be sure to look at their “Parents” section and read through the requirements and “indicators of success” to determine whether this program is potentially appropriate for your child.
Push to Open Nature Society-Canada-“Push to Open Nature Society is a network of groups and individuals that use their abilities to enrich lives through connection with nature, adaptive outdoor activities, and sharing stories of inclusion.”
Therapeutic Adventures-Charlottesville, VA
Wampler Foundation-“Born with a severe form of cerebral palsy, Steve Wampler set out to climb the biggest rock face in the world; El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, not for himself but to inspire all kids with physical disabilities and to prove that anything can be accomplished. The Wampler Foundation was started with the mission of providing a one of a kind wilderness experience to physically disabled children nationwide.” The Wampler Foundation sponsors a variety of programs including a wilderness camp in the Sierra Nevada Mountains at Camp Nejedly’s Hawley Lake. This is a camp for people with physical disabilities ages 10-18 in. Often referred to as “Camp Wamp”, the Wampler Foundation wilderness camp is operated by the City of Sacramento’s Department of Parks and Recreation in partnership with the Contra Costa Youth Council. Check out this video about Camp Wamp. It was put together for fundraising purposes but I love what it conveys about the camp. Get your application for Camp Wamp here.
Links to Related Organizations:
The British Paraorchestra-Conductor Charles Hazlewood was inspired to create the Paraorchestra by his young daughter who has cerebral palsy. He wished to model it after the Paralympics by creating a platform for talented disabled musicians at the top of their game. “The British Paraorchestra is pioneering a global movement to recognize and showcase disabled musicians with extraordinary abilities. Its mission is to end the limitations placed on them, not by their physical ability but by lack of opportunity.”
Here is one of their beautiful renditions I shared previously, and I never seem to get tired of: http://www.paraorchestra.com/videos
Chickenshed Theatre, London-inclusive theatre company