Accessible Summer Activities for Kids with SMA

Last updated: July 2022

Summertime is an interesting part of the year for people with disabilities, especially children. Warm weather seems great, but really it leads people to inaccessible places like the beach, going on hikes, theme parks, and summer camps.

No need to miss the fun

But just because these are popular summer activities doesn’t mean you or your child with SMA should stay isolated at home. There’s plenty to do that’s wheelchair friendly.

Growing up, my older brother attended a typical summer camp that revolved around physical activities like kayaking on the lake or just running around. So I didn’t feel left out, my parents found alternate activities for me.

An accessible camp for my interests

The high school in the town next to mine hosted a camp for all age ranges of kids where the “campers” registered for fun classes like art, cooking, building model rockets, and acting. Every year I signed up to be in the camp’s play and we’d rehearsal all summer to put on a show at the end for the parents and other campers.

One year it was Grease (I played Grease Lightning as well as had a singing part) and another year we did The Wizard of Oz (I played the wizard!). It was a great, wheelchair accessible way for me to be active over the summer and stay social with my peers. Not to mention it was inside, in the AC.

The camp never had a problem with my disability and neither did the counselors who were usually students at the high school. If I took a cooking class, they found ways to involve me. I also brought my nurse, no questions asked.

Thinking outside the box

When it comes to camp or summer in general, it’s best to get creative and think outside of the box so you or your child don’t feel left out while everyone is swimming in the ocean or riding rollercoasters. Most towns or community centers offer day camps for children so do some research on what’s available in your area.

Libraries have accessible activities

Libraries can also be a nice place to hang out and make a friend. For kids, libraries usually offer summer reading programs, storytime, and book clubs with discussion groups. This can be another fantastic alternative to the traditional camp experience.

Invite friends to hang out

Also, and this is pretty simple, just invite people to your house so you know there won’t be any barriers. My house was always the BBQ spot or the place for all the kids in the neighborhood–either my age or my brother’s–to hang out. Our parents created that fun environment so I wouldn’t feel isolated. Everyone wanted to be at Chaz’s house, there was no other choice and we’d play video games, watch a movie, or make s’mores in the chiminea outside.

The moral of the story is don’t let your disability prevent you from having a great time or finding a place to have a great time. Summer is all about making memories and there are fun and wheelchair accessible ways to do that for any age.

Connect in the Forum: How Do You Make Summer Fun and Accessible?

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