The Paralympic Games and Recreational Therapy

Since the end of the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, we have begun looking forward to the 2014 Paralympic Games beginning on March 7th. Over 40 countries will be represented at this year’s winter games and athletes will participate in ice sledge hockey, wheelchair curling, the biathlon, cross-country skiing, and alpine skiing. Thinking about the winter Paralympic Games got us thinking about winter recreational sports, which in turn got us thinking about recreational therapy.

Recreational therapy is not just games, music, art, and outings; it includes sports as well. Today we highlight six of our favorite recreational therapy and recreational sports resources:

  1. RecTech.org, a Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) funded by NIDRR, is a center dedicated to “using technology to promote more healthy, active lifestyles for people with disabilities”  and provide publications, research and development projects, training projects and conferences dealing with interactive exercise, recreation technology, and exercise physiology that benefit people with disabilities.
  2. The National Sports Center for the Disabled (NCDS) – NCDS provides summer camps, mountain programs, skiing, snowshoeing, indoor kayaking, and other sports. To learn more about NSCD, visit their website or contact them via email at info@nscd.org.
  3. To learn about adaptive sports and accessible recreation programs, visit MassResources.org. Although their programs are for people with disabilities in Massachusetts, MassResources.org provides a general idea for everyone regarding adaptive sports, what recreation programs may be available in your area, possible costs, eligibility, and laws regarding adaptive and accessible sports and recreation.
  4. Your local YMCA should have inclusive programs that include aquatics (such as adaptive swim lessons), wellness/fitness classes, and sports (such as youth wheelchair basketball). Milwaukee’s YMCA is an example of what the Y’s inclusive programs look like. To locate your local YMCA center, call 1800/872-9622 or email them at fulfillment@ymca.net.
  5. The National Park and Recreation Association (NPRA) is an advocacy organization that works towards the advancement of public parks, recreation, and conservation in order to enhance the quality of life for all people. NPRA provides a list with contact information for each state’s associations, societies, and/or affiliates.
  6. Although a bit more technical, the Therapeutic Recreation Directory is a great resource for recreation therapists, people with disabilities, and other interested parties. Their resources page is divided into major sections and features, including ideas for recreation therapy.

Now that we’ve shared some of our favorite recreational and sports resources, why don’t you tell us what your favorites are? And don’t forget to cheer on your team and all the athletes at the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi!

About mpgarcia

I'm the Bilingual Information/Media Specialist at NARIC.
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