Adaptive Equipment for Outdoor Recreation
Outdoor recreation is life-enhancing. It's socialization. It's access to nature. In short, it's important for most people's happiness. When disabilities create barriers to experiencing the outdoors, adaptive outdoor recreation steps in. Now more than ever (although there is still a ways to go), adaptive equipment is available to help those with disabilities participate in outdoor activities. Consider the following options to help special needs children enjoy outdoor adventures.
There's nothing like riding a bike to bolster a child's independence and self-confidence. However, everyday bikes don't always work for those with disabilities. For a wide range of bicycle and tricycle options, explore Adaptivemall.com's special needs bikes and trikes.
We have tricycles for kids and adults who may not be able to balance on two wheels, no-pedal bikes for balance therapy, and foot and hand cycles to bolster confidence and provide mobility to those who may not be able to propel a bike using legs alone. Tandem and tandem-fitter bicycles are also great options to allow those with disabilities to go along on family bike rides or just practice pedaling safely.
Need help choosing the right bike for your child? Feel free to contact us at (800) 371-2778 or use our sizing help contact form on our website to get help from a qualified therapist to suit your needs.
While fishing doesn't require much strength, it does require the ability to cast a line and reel in a fish once it's caught. To enable those without enough strength to cast a line, pull one in, grip a pole or even hold a pole while waiting for a fish to bite, there is adaptive gear available. This includes self-reeling reels, joystick or push-button reels, rod holders and more.
These adaptive devices are available for purchase from a variety of outlets. In case you'd like to try them out first, many states and other organizations offer free loaner adaptive equipment. Here are just a couple sources for free adaptive fishing equipment:
- Missouri Department of Conservation
- North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission tackle loaner program
If your child has a disability that still enables him or her to take a walk outside, that's wonderful and a great way to experience nature, but for those with limited or no use of their legs, wheelchair-accessible trails that are wider and have smoother grades are a great option, even though most regular trails will work fine with wheelchairs. Check out Trail Link for a directory of these trails.
Kayaking and canoeing are often great sports for those with physical disabilities who still have use of their arms or hands. Even so, Creating Ability provides a range of adaptive equipment to make kayaks more stable for those with disabilities, including adaptive paddles.
There's even a paddleboard that accommodates a wheelchair right on the water. It's called the Onit Ability Board.
Camping can be a great activity for those with disabilities, especially if you find a site that's wheelchair-accessible. The Americans with Disabilities Act doesn't have specific requirements in place for campsites, but if you speak to the campsite managers, you should be able to ascertain whether the site will work for you and your child.
Make sure to ask if the site has level ground, a clear path to restrooms, wheelchair-accessible restrooms, enough room to park a car and use a wheelchair lift, an overhang that lets you pull up a wheelchair and a fire pit with high sides.
WheelchairTraveling.com offers some suggestions for the best wheelchair-accessible campsites.
If you're adventurous enough to try a theme park and have a child with limited mobility, make sure you check in advance for wheelchair accessibility. 101 Mobility LLC offers a list of six wheelchair-accessible theme parks you might want to try.
Playgrounds and Swings
If you're looking to head to the playground, you can check AccessiblePlayground.net for a directory of inclusive and accessible playgrounds, as well as resources on building a playground of your own.
Many playgrounds have adaptive swings for those with disabilities. In case you need a resource for Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant swings, see Adaptivemall.com's swing selection. Try the Jensen Residential ADA Swing for home use or the Jensen Commercial ADA Swing for your therapy facility, daycare, school or playground.
Outdoor Therapy Equipment
Adaptivemall.com offers a variety of fun therapy equipment for kids that help build muscle and improve balance. Beyond our bicycles, tricycles and swings, we have items like our Ready Racer and Soft-Top Round Scooter. Browse our selection for more options.
These are just a few ideas for adaptive outdoor sports and recreation. Keep in mind that there are plenty of other resources available for those with disabilities. Some organizations offer adaptive sports programs to enable those with disabilities to experience a wide range of outdoor activities. Helen Hayes Hospital in New York is just one example, so check for similar resources in your area.