If your child has a disability, it might be hard to look past the daily challenges while trying to balance your own needs. The routine of visiting doctors, supporting your child, and keeping them healthy takes priority over everything. You are not alone in this. While it can be overwhelming, a disability is not a limitation with the right mindset.
Your child can still have the same dreams and experiences as other children. With so many modified sports and a thriving community, anything is possible. Hobbies and extracurricular activities are positive outlets that can make your child’s journey easier while building their skills. Children with disabilities need this disruption to the humdrum routine of doctor’s visits and special accommodations.
Finding the right hobby might seem like a challenge, but it’s beneficial in the long run. This guide gives you a head start. Exploring your options can be a fun family activity as you find that perfect fit for your child.
Finding the Right Activities
Kids can do many hobbies at home with just a few modifications. Other hobbies can get you and your child out of the house. Here are some factors to consider as you explore your options.
Cultivate Natural Talents and Interests
Most hobbies stem from what naturally makes us curious or interested. It is certainly easier to develop a hobby around a skill that comes naturally! However, it can also be fun to find a challenge in what interests your child.
If your child gravitates toward art or music, it can be a learning opportunity to explore this interest with them. Often, children with disabilities learn discipline as a result of living with a disability, so the challenge of learning something new comes naturally with that discipline.
Consider the Physical Side
Some hobbies are physically demanding and will require your consideration. However, that doesn’t mean they are not accessible. Your child may even pioneer new ways of participating in the activity!
Always keep an open mind because there are options everywhere. Are you an outdoors family? Even hunting is a possibility. Thanks to online resources such as Boot Bomb’s gear list for handicapped people, you can rest assured that your special needs child can be right there with you. You and your child know what physical capabilities he has and what is feasible. So then it’s only a matter of finding the best matching gear to make possible this family hunting trip with a disabled child.
Observe and Ask
If you need more help discovering a hobby, call in some backup. Try to ask around or observe what other people with the same disability are doing. You’ll soon discover the possibilities of how to modify various activities for people of all abilities. Some modified sports include wheelchair basketball, tennis, and even the aggressive game of rugby. Other options include writing, sculpting, painting, and drama.
Find someone you trust and get insights into the possibilities and challenges of an activity, a sport, or a hobby. They have paved the way and navigated the challenges – so listen to them!
Benefits to Extracurricular Activities
There are multiple benefits to getting your child in activities for people with disabilities – and remember, you can get them to join, too! Here are some of the best outcomes:
One of the best benefits of being a parent is watching your child make new connections. Your child will be around people with similar interests from all walks of life. The exposure widens their social circle beyond family, medical professionals, and caregivers. Expanding their horizons opens the whole family to new relationships to help on the journey of life.
As your child continues to develop their skills and interests, they will grow more confident. Children with disabilities have a lot happening in their lives, which can cause them to forget their unique qualities. Your support will remind them they are capable of accomplishing so much no matter what life hands them. Over time, children will develop self-actualization and know they can set and reach goals.
Competitive Edge and Teamwork
Children often participate in sports for the love of the game, competition, and team bonds. These same benefits apply to children with disabilities. If your child participates in a sport, you can expect to see these same strengths grow. They certainly will not be alone on this journey. Reports show the Special Olympics had over 4 million athletes participate in 2016.
If your child is more artistic, this presents an opportunity for self-expression and creativity. Artistic hobbies include everything from drama to writing to painting. Each activity includes imagination and creativity that allows them to express their goals and dreams. Every art project or writing piece is a goal they set and achieve when they complete it.
A child with a disability can dream just as big and wide as someone without disabilities. That dream might require some modification or creativity, but it is still possible. Help your child follow their passions, challenge themselves, and make connections so that they can soar without limits.