PART 2 - Celebrate the Experience!
In the first part of this series we discussed how individuals with severe and profound disabilities are often left out of the world of recreational sport play. In order for this group to gain greater access several key things need to take place; greater exposure to human need for all people to gain opportunity, increased exposure of movement opportunities, and enhanced training / demonstration of how to accomplish these goals.
Let's begin with the simple but powerful "ACTION STEP" of establishing a mindset that movement experiences can be a journey of the mind and body.
As people get older their movement strengths change, it normally results in reduced physical and mental abilities. Yet, these changes don't mean that opportunity has to end; the experience just shifts.
Examples include; running or cycling, which gets replaced with hiking. Five on Five basketball gets replaced with a casual shoot around, etc.
This shift is the "blueprint" for how to increase movement services for people with severe and profound disabilities. By simplifying a lifetime leisure activity and focusing on the essence experience while at the same time enhancing the sensory inputs equals increased accessibility.
Hiking in its essence is an activity of travel that leads to and includes visual inputs. People hike to see a vista, or arrive at their destination. If we embrace that constant, and supplement it with greater visual perks, while at the same time reducing the physical obstacles a more inclusive experience can occur.
Hiking to the world heritage site of Machu Picchu is a trek most dream of taking, yet by creating both ground level and on a wall visual pathways highlighting the mountains, structures, and habitat across a 10-20 foot length people in wheelchairs, walkers, and ones restricted to a hospital can still be guided to take the journey.
Within this experience individuals can reach out to touch some of the visuals, and travel / be led side to side, fast and slow, and turn to mimic what typical hiking feels like. The additions of a fan can mimic the wind, and music can mimic the sounds of the jungle!
Football is America's ultimate social and recreational experience! Opportunities to play include; Pop Warner, Flag Football, Tackle, College and the NFL. Additionally, backyard football and the timeless classic of Thanksgiving ball are all opportunities for most people to enjoy play.
Using the same "blueprint" as before, a group with severe and profound needs could play a scaled down version of football in a typical size room with the addition of visual and auditory elements. Visuals could include field markers, end zones, and even a goal post. Players could move or be moved carrying a ball/object, and caregivers could serve a peer player allowing for a more inclusive experience. Music imitating crowd noise, along with a combination of flag football / backyard rules could round the activity off.
In essence any traditional recreational / sport activity could be simplified and/or scaled and then supplemented with visual graphics and auditory sounds to create opportunities for people who move and experience activities differently.
Please reach out to Fit and Fun Playscapes to learn more, and discuss how we can help your group!