Activities for Children with Disabilities in Canada

by John McKiggan

Activities for Children with Disabilities in Canada

A non-profit organization known as ParticipACTION conducted a survey in 2018 based on the physical activity of Canada’s youth and the overall grade Canadian students received was a D+. The report card grade is a call to action for all young Canadians to get moving, and for the very first time, this report draws attention to how important physical activity is for children with disabilities.

While every parent will do what they believe is in the best interest of their child, BILA wants to provide as much information as possible to help parents. With that in mind here’s some options.

Canada’s Activity App

The Jooay App project is an app that’s designed to support families through access to local sport and leisure opportunities for children with disabilities. The app utilizes activity maps of specific cities and towns to show when and where certain opportunities are taking place.

This app is a result of the Kids Brain Health Network that did a tremendous effort to improve research and training for program managers, coaches and support staffing who help make Jooay’s activities possible.

Some of Jooay’s activities include:

  • Adapted cycling training
  • Yoga
  • Wheelchair sports
  • Adapted swimming
  • Adapted golf
  • Scribbles and Giggles
  • Disabled skiing
  • Para soccer
  • Powerchair soccer
  • Sportball
  • Bowling
  • Summer Camp
  • Creative movement
  • Tae Kwon Do
  • Floor hockey
  • Exploring Art
  • And so much more!

Activities for Your Child

We all know how important it is for kids with disabilities to be encouraged towards exercise, outdoor activities, and consistent physiotherapy. But how do you choose activities that you know your child will enjoy?

There’s no denying that the Jooay app is a great resource to find fun opportunities, but we’re also going to go over some other fun activities that children with disabilities (or any child) can thoroughly enjoy.

Indoor Activities

  • Musical instruments, like drums, to play around with can help you potentially encourage music classes for your child(ren). It’s a great idea to encourage your child to learn songs to play, and sing loudly. Singing is a wonderful vocal exercise, and keyboards are also great for exercising dexterity.
  • Playing games that encourage crawling can also be a wonderful idea for younger children who are towards the beginning stages of their development. You can place toys out amongst a space and have your child move around from one item to the other.
  • Painting and drawing are always fun indoor activities, helping children feel more creative. They also do a wonderful job helping children practice how to properly hold objects and improve their overall hand-eye coordination.

Outdoor Activities 

We’ve already talked about outdoor activities that are identified through the Jooay app, but there really are so many other fun things to do with your kids that can be just as rewarding.  Some of these outdoor activities include:

  • Going out to a park/community garden
  • Exploring the local zoos
  • Having fun at playgrounds
  • Going to farmer’s markets together

Giving your child a bicycle or tricycle that has been adapted to accommodate their disability, will definitely get them excited about being outside.  

Simply put, there is a solution for just about any outdoor activity for persons with disabilities. For example, take a look at this story about a fishing boat that has been modified to be wheelchair accessible and how a fishing rod has been modified to be used one-handed.

While there is still a long way to go, there are now many sports programs for persons with special needs. For example, Challenger Baseball is a program for kids who have cognitive or physical disabilities. Challenger Baseball has 2,500 kids participating in it across Canada.

Want More Information?

Every parent of a child with a disability knows how important all types of occupational and physical therapies are in terms of ensuring a child’s better future, but having fun and getting your child involved in the community is what you can do to ensure your child’s better present moments.

For more information about activities for your child with disabilities to do within your local community, contact BILA to discuss what’s available in your province or city.

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