If you have a child with a disability, then you’ll surely know how difficult it can be, trying to find opportunities for sports in your local area. It’s not as simple as it is for other kids – you can’t just march on down to the nearest football club or karate dojo; you might not have any adaptive sports clubs near you.
Sadly, that doesn’t change things – your child still wants to get involved and play sport with other people, and he or she still needs the normal amount of exercise! Now, we can’t guarantee that it’ll help (if you live in a particularly rural area, there probably won’t be any suitable clubs around), but here are a few bits of information about getting your child into sports.
Do Your Research
Look for the club that is nearest to you. For able-bodied kids, there should be around a dozen or so in a 20 mile radius, but you should be prepared for the possibility of travelling long distances.
There are a few invaluable resources online, so get on the web and start searching. One of the best ones is Parasport, which lists hundreds of different clubs, and even lets you search via your postcode to find the closest ones. Click here for their amazing searcher tool.
Depending on which sport your son and daughter wishes to start doing, you may have to brush up on the rules. For a start, there may be finer points to the rules of popular sports that you don’t know (not understanding the offside rule is common), or your child may desire to take up a sport that you’re less well-versed with (like, say, fencing or archery), or the rules for the adaptive version may differ from the “traditional” ones!
Once you and your child know all the rules, it’s time to get to work. Contact local programmes and enquire as to how your child would fit in, and get as much practice as you can outside of the clubs! Of course, this might be easier said than done – you probably don’t have a couple of epees lying around!
Again, this will change on the sport, as well as of course on your child’s particular disability. You won’t necessarily have to make upgrades for every sport; some things will give an advantage, but aren’t strictly necessary, such as wheelchairs designed for basketball.
If your kid is begging to learn how to ride a bike, there are plenty of specialist bicycles available; check out www.allabilitycycling.com for a wide range, catering for people with balance troubles, problems with mobility, and learning disabilities.
Keep in mind any other kit that might need to be bought – football boots, the team strip, kneepads or gloves, a fencing foil, a crash helmet… the list goes on.
And One More Thing…
There’s one more point we have to make, and it’s an important one. Whichever sport you and your child choose to take part in, remember to have fun!