Summer is quickly approaching, for some not fast enough. It would be great to go on that all- inclusive get away but with today’s economy, perhaps purse strings are tighter than usual. Finding accessible vacation spots or manageable trips when you have a child with special needs is a whole other can of worms. There are lots of summer activities for children with disabilities that are fun, rewarding and budget friendly. Here are some ideas….


1. Swimming – Check out your local pool this summer. Children with mobility impairments enjoy the freedom they have in the water. There are many types of flotation devices to assist them and it’s a great place to take a friend or the whole family. Check with your child’s therapist on what, if any, flotation device is needed.


          Tip#1: Ask your therapist if they know of a parent equipment fund to help cover costs.


          Tip#2: If there is a health center for children offering specialized services in your province, ask them if they offer swimming therapy or assessments. For example: Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children in B.C. has an Aquatics Program that will do assessments and provides some outreach services to other communities.  


          Tip#3: If you’re starting your child in swimming therapy, ask the therapist where you might get funding to cover the costs. Funding can often be from sources you’ve never considered. For example: local clubs such as Lions or Rotary may fund things therapy related.  


          Tip#4: If you don’t have a pool and your child has sensory difficulties, a public pool could be overwhelming. The noise, lights, echoes, etc., may be too much stimulus at one time. Try advertising or contacting your local recreation society for ideas. Sometimes local residences offer swimming lessons in their pools. You might not be interested in lessons but if you ask, they may allow you the use of their pool for a minimal fee. People occasionally fear what they don’t understand. At your discretion, you may decide to sign a waiver releasing them of liability.


2. Fishing – Taking children fishing can be calming and exciting. Check out your Provincial Fishing Guide to find what spot would best suit your child’s needs. Even Rick Hansen has helped in the creation of accessible fishing spots in British Columbia. Lac Le Juene just outside of Kamloops is a nice spot with a long dock to try your luck and drop your line. A cheap little fishing rod and reel set works great for young children. There are also rod holders on the market that attach wheelchairs if needed.


3. Horseback Riding – A young child with disabilities may be able to sit on a horse with a parent and have spotters at each side. There are several organizations across the province providing therapeutic riding such as Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities (PRDA). You can enroll your child in a program or get an equipment assessment done. 


          Tip#1: If the therapeutic riding program is not in your area, consider making the trip for an equipment and safety assessment. Once your know what equipment your child needs, you may be able to get that equipment, learn safety tips and find a local place to go riding. Some equipment adaptations are easy to make and not expensive.


4. Camps – For a list of camps for children with disabilities, check out my previous post BC Camps for Children with Disabilities.


5. Art or Science programs – Check with the Ministry of Children and Families, therapy providers, Art or Science Centers for information on local programs for children with disabilities. Occasionally, there are day or week long programs offered.


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(Wheel-ist-ic) Adj: awareness or acceptance of actual fact, real existence, or truth with relation to inclusion, accessibility and/or persons with disabilities.

Let’s Be Wheelisitic is a blog designed to open communication, share and create change through parenting, awareness, inclusion and advocacy. Over the years people have encouraged me to use my voice and experiences with my daughter to help others with or without disabilities, or parents of children with disabilities. This blog is my way of doing just that. I hope you will find this site enjoyable, educational, helpful, and rewarding.
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“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” — E. B. White