Summer means vacations and days of warm-weather adventure for most families. For those who have a family member diagnosed with cerebral palsy, there can be some challenges involved in getting the most out of activities that many take for granted.
The fact that there are challenges doesn’t mean you should skip these fun activities. According to the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, people with CP are up to four times more likely to suffer depression than those who have no physical health limitations.
While there may be a number of factors that contribute to the increased rate of depression among CP patients, there does appear to be some indication that it’s impacted by how they learn to cope with the stresses of their condition.
Limitation doesn’t mean inability. Many activities can be modified so that those with CP can better participate, depending on the physical restrictions associated with each individual’s circumstances. If you’re looking for some summer activities to add to your family’s itinerary this year, here are some ideas:
If you have a child with cerebral palsy, you might think that summer camp is out of the question. Depending on your child’s limitations, though, summer camp can very well be an option.
While many mainstream camps won’t have the trained staff and facilities, there are a number of camps across the country that specifically cater to special needs children, offering a better ratio of staff to campers and the training to specifically work with your child’s health issues.
Who doesn’t like swimming during the summer? Those diagnosed with cerebral palsy can enjoy the water and benefit from aquatic exercises designed for their specific needs. Many experts believe that swimming and other water exercises can benefit those with CP because there’s less impact on the joints. Regular aquatic exercise has been shown to improve muscle strength, as well as self-image.
You can check the accessibility accommodations at your local zoo ahead of time so you’re fully prepared for the trip. Many zoos offer programs designed for those with special needs. You can also plan the day to coincide with a day of the week fewer people might visit. This way, you can have the most room to move around and not feel rushed by the crowds.
Summertime gives you a great chance to see outdoor music shows, and everyone in the family can enjoy the night air and live entertainment. Look around your area to get performance dates and see what the accessibility is for each location. You might even pack a picnic and make an evening of it.
There are a number of outdoor and community theaters that put on scheduled performances over the summer months. This is another activity that every family member can enjoy regardless of physical limitations.
Sports and Activities for Those with Disabilities
Having a disability is no longer a barrier to being able to participate in a favorite sport or physical activity. There are many levels and age groups of adapted play available, so that everyone can become involved.
There’s no need to travel far away to have a little fun on your vacation. You might have a barbecue at home, play in the sprinklers, or even pitch a tent in your own backyard.
Be a Tourist
Just because you live in your hometown, there’s no reason you can’t take advantage of local tourist attractions. Is there a local boat ride or a bus tour through your city? Maybe you’d like to visit a museum or see a specific landmark. Many of these activities are accessible for everyone.
There are a number of ways to take popular activities and fit them to your family dynamic. Sometimes all you need is a little ingenuity and some support.
At Cerebral Palsy Group, we’re always looking for more information to share to enrich your families’ lives. Feel free to chime in with ideas you’ve used to make your summer fun more extraordinary!