I hope you enjoyed Let’s Play! Part 1. In Part 2 of our Blog series Let’s Play! we are going to explore higher tech Assistive Technology for outdoor recreation.
As we all know, sometimes the most fun recreation requires more extensive or advanced technologies. A lot of options exist in the marketplace that are designed to enable individuals to get outside and get active – whether alone, or with family or friends. Just about any activity you want to do has equipment available.
Fishing, Hunting and Boating, OH MY!
First, let’s talk about water activities. Many people just assume that if an individual has an impairment, especially a mobility impairment, they are excluded from participating in water based activities. Not so my friend! Get ready to be inspired!
Whether you simply enjoy the wind in your hair only a speed boat can offer, enjoy kayaking or live for fishing, there are options for seating, positioning, paddling and more! Let’s check out a few. (This is a great website with more extensive information on options: http://www.creatingability.com/ )
There are several variations of a wake board and/or skis with the addition of a chair that allows individuals unable to use a standard wake board the opportunity to experience the thrill. Ann O’Brine Satterfield became the first female with a disability to land a jump in a sit ski. Similarly, where are wake boards designed for use by an individual in a seated position, such as the Swaik – Sit Wake.
For a more relaxing adventure, try an adapted kayak and paddles. Adapted seating allows for added stability and postural support. Varieties of adaptations for paddling result in one- or two-handed paddling, or paddling via feet.
I caught my first fish in a Walleye tournament at 5 years old – and it was the biggest in our group! I love everything about fishing and if I acquired a disability that impaired me from participating I would be so excited there were options out there to enable me to still participate in something I love.
The pictured one-handed reel by Achievable Concepts can be a great solution to give someone who needs to perform tasks one-handed. For an individual with higher levels of impairment related to mobility, there is the Low Mobility Rod Mount by Be Adaptive Equipment. And maybe the coolest adaptation I discovered when researching these options is a fishing boat with wheelchair ramp access, allowing those individuals using a wheelchair to get out on the water without transferring out of their wheelchair.
Here is a resource on places to find more information on where you can purchase water sport equipment: http://www.disabledsportsusa.org/sports/adaptive-equipment/water-sports-equipment/
From sea to land.
Other than fishing, I pretty much prefer my feet on solid ground.
For my like minded readers, let’s explore Adapted Rec Equipment for land based activities.
Young children with mobility impairments shouldn’t be left out of the outdoor fun. Thanks to Cole Galloway and the Go Baby Go! Program that developed out of the University of Delaware children all over the world are being given the opportunity for independent, recreational mobility. Added bonus, it also helps them reach developmental milestones! There are sites all over the world where you can obtain one for a child in your life. To read more about the program and its benefits check out this video: http://nationswell.com/babiesdrivingracecars/
Wheelchairs are just for smooth, even surfaces!
All terrain wheelchairs exist for beach goers and off-roaders alike. Just like other wheelchairs, they come in simple, lower tech models and advance to about as high tech as you can imagine! Whether high or low tech, these all terrain wheelchairs feature more durable wheels and frames ensuring stability and safety while exploring.
Snow bunnies unite!
Whether you want to go down the mountain solo or with a partner you have options!
For you independent souls the Uniski and Dualski are examples of adapted ski equipment for you to conquer the slopes. If you are like me and prefer to have someone else around to make sure you don’t fly off the edge of a mountain, or you just need a second set of hands to help you navigate the slopes, something like the Tandom Flex is a great option.
I won’t pretend that my knowledge base for hunting and fishing runs anything but superficial, but I did want to present a couple of cool options I found to allow individuals with varying levels of impairments participate in rifle, pistol and archery related activities.
Be Adaptive Equipment has some unique options for rifle and pistol mounts that increase the accessibility of firearm shooting activities, whether for target practice or hunting. Their High Quad Pistol Mount allows for trigger access using mouth controls. They also have a wheelchair mounted bow stand that allows for stable positioning of the bow for an individual using a wheelchair.
Photo Credits: Be Adaptive Equipment
Don’t be deterred from trying something new if you cannot personally afford these higher tech, higher cost items. There are many community based programs that have equipment you can rent for the activities you love.
- Mountains have adapted ski equipment and guides
- Cities have recreational programs
- Many rehab centers have adapted sports leagues
- Organizations that serve and employ individuals with disabilities often have adapted sports clubs
- Association chapters that focus on a particular population within the disability community, such as – United Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired
In addition, many of the regional Associations or Societies offer individual grants to members to pursue activities they enjoy, which often includes financing. Easter Seals has low interest loan programs that make purchasing larger ticket items more accessible as well.
For those of you around the Omaha, NE area, check out this non-exhaustive list of options in our community:
Outlook Nebraska, Inc – Tandem bike, golf and Goalball: https://outlooknebraska.org/about-us/vision-resource-coalition/
Special Olympics Nebraska: http://www.sone.org/
Paralyzed Veterans of America : http://greatplainspva.org/site/national-veterans-wheelchair-games/
The Eastern Nebraska Wheelchair Athletic Association: http://www.enwaa.org/adult-activities/
Adapted ski programs by state: http://www.specialneedstravelmom.com/blog/ski-resorts-adaptive-skiing-programs/
Get out and try something new!
Be on the watch for Part 3 of the series where we explore high tech assistive technology options that are all about accessible fitness!