AS A FAMILY WE LOVE SPENDING TIME TOGETHER AND WE’RE ALWAYS ON THE LOOKOUT FOR ACCESSIBLE EXPERIENCES WE CAN ALL ENJOY.
Shared activities are a wonderful way of bonding siblings and ensuring life isn’t totally consumed by doctor’s appointments and therapy.
With the school holidays just around the corner, and summer on the way, we thought we’d share a few of the activities that have worked for our family.
After watching his sister go to ice skating lessons for years, Braeden was thrilled to be able to join her on the ice. We’ve found many local rinks, and most of the pop-up outdoor rinks, allow wheelchairs on the rink. Braeden finds skating in his wheelchair social and he loves joining in with the limbo and other games which are often offered.
Working together to find our way through a maze certainly creates many family memories. There’s always a mixture of emotions with frustration and joy as we find our way, occasionally hitting dead ends but eventually being victorious. Other families working their way around often stop to swap ideas on how to crack the maze, which Braeden enjoys. When it comes to researching the accessibility of a maze, it’s important to ask the width clearance and type of ground cover (gravel is not a wheelchair user’s friend).
Our adventure-seeker loves a buggy tour. Riding shotgun, Braeden is always happy to explore an area on a buggy tour. Sometimes we’ll have a girls versus boys buggy experience which always brings out the family’s competitive side. On other occasions the four of us will all hop in one for a companionable laid-back tour. It’s a great way for Braeden to see different countryside with little effort. Once he transfers into
the buggy he sits back and relaxes. We’ve explored country trails and beaches with the help of a buggy.
Due to the nature of the game, it can be difficult to find an accessible mini-golf course but it’s a favourite with our family. We’ve had fun at an indoor mini-golf course and tried our hand at aqua golf. Braeden stayed in his wheelchair for both and needed hand-on- hand assistance, but it was fabulous family fun.
Accessible playgrounds are popping up around the country and it’s a wonderful meeting place when catching up with friends and family. Accessible carousels, swings and musical instruments make going to the park inclusive for all.
Many Surf Lifesaving Clubs around Australia provide a variety of beach wheelchairs making family days at the beach possible. This makes holidaying more inclusive for the whole family.
Australians love the great outdoors, but it isn’t always easy to be immersed in nature when you are a wheelchair user. The TrailRider is making our beautiful National Parks more accessible. Free to loan from many locations it’s fun to explore the bush as a family.
If you have an animal lover in your family, then there’s plenty of choices of animal encounters. From feeding a giraffe, wrangling a snake or cuddling a wallaby, animal parks and zoos offer a range of accessible experiences. Communicate with the keeper your needs and what will make your child comfortable and they are usually happy to accommodate.
If you’re trying something new, we recommend phoning in advance and researching accessibility to avoid disappointment.
Sharing activities bond families but they also offer children with special needs
the opportunity to widen their life’s experiences. Sharing their photos with teachers and support staff opens up greater understanding of their personality and is a great way of engaging their peers.