Getting Kids With Disabilities To Be Physically Active

Nearly half of all adults with disabilities get no aerobic physical activity, finds a new report from The Centers for Disease Control. It’s not hard to understand why, especially if you have a child with disabilities: It can be trickier to be active with physical challenges. While many typically developing kids join sports programs, there aren’t as many options for children with disabilities—nor do they meet as regularly, in my experience.

Exercise has been on my mind lately because Max packed on some pounds over the winter, thank you mac ‘n cheese and thank you, crappy winter.  Our pediatrician recommended that he get more activity. In fact, according to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, obesity rates are approximately 38 percent higher for children with disabilities than for ones without them. Max has done adaptive skiing over the years, but we don’t have an adaptive playground for everyday fun. In all honesty, physical activity for Max hasn’t been a priority for me until the doctor said something; my husband and I have been very focused on helping Max develop, period.

Scheduling is another challenge; I’m a working mom, and Max’s after-school job is getting therapy, therapy and yet more therapy. I was going to enroll him in an adaptive softball program, only it meets on Saturday mornings, when Max gets speech therapy. Special Olympics programs aren’t yet an option, because Max has issues with crowds. Still, the warmer weather means Max can ride his adaptive tricycle up. It’s a Triaid, and he pedals up and down our street like a fiend.

Here, some national sports programs for kids with disabilities; your town’s rec department and your child’s school physical therapy team and social worker may know of local options:

Special Olympics’ Young Athletes Program (for kids ages 2 1/2 to 7)

Little League Challenger Division

The Miracle League (baseball)

Disabled Sports USA Youth programs

Plus: Check here to find the closest adaptive playground to you.

From my other blog:

15 superpowers of special needs moms

How kids with special needs change our perceptions of joy

Spring is when the children bloom


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