How Birth Injury Recreational Activities Can Help
Unfortunately, many people believe that children with birth injuries cannot participate in recreational activities. This could not be further from the truth.
Children who have been diagnosed with birth injuries can still lead happy and healthy lives and participate in sports and camps just like other children. Activities such as aquatic therapy, visiting the zoo and playing sports are all possible. Children with birth injuries may require modifications that allow them to participate fully, but they can still find these activities therapeutic and beneficial.
Recreational activities can help improve the physical and mental well-being of children with birth injuries by helping them make friends, offering stress relief and providing them with educational opportunities.
Types of Recreational Activities
There are several different types of recreational activities for children with birth injuries and their parents to choose from. Parents can choose the types of activities that best suit the needs of their children.
Types of recreational activities include:
- Aquatic therapy: Water play is a very beneficial therapy for kids with limited mobility or speech delays and feeding issues. Aquatic therapy allows children with cerebral palsy to perform movements they would not normally be able to on land. Water also alleviates pressure on joints and muscles and improves respiratory ability. This reduction of pressure can be beneficial for children with Erb’s palsy.
- Reading: Regardless of your child’s developmental level, reading can help them improve their speech and language skills. Reading can help your child with speech as they name objects in the book and practice sounds. Reading can also provide a wonderful bonding opportunity for you and your child.
- Toys: Playing with toys is a great way to improve sensory development and build motor skills. These are a wide range of toys that have been adapted to meet the needs of children with Erb’s palsy and cerebral palsy.
- Outdoor Activities: No matter your child’s mobility level, outdoor activities such as going to the zoo, a park or the beach helps with sensory development. These activities can also help your child meet new friends.
- Camps: There are specialized camps for children with birth injuries like Erb’s palsy and cerebral palsy. These camps have specialists who work with children with birth injuries as their profession. These camps often include entertainment, nature trails and pools.
- Sports: Adaptive equipment can help children with disabilities participate in sports and stay physically active. Sports are a fun option for staying active and meeting new friends.
Indoor activities such as reading, toys and puzzles can all bring joy to children with birth injuries. These activities are a great way to build a social bond with your child. They can also help your child feel a sense of accomplishment and achievement. There are specialized toys for children with birth injuries such as cerebral palsy.
Indoor Activities for Fine Motor Skills
Indoor activities that stimulate fine motor skills can be a critical part of the development of a child with cerebral palsy. Children with Erb’s palsy or other brachial plexus injuries also benefit from developing fine motor skills and building strength and flexibility in their muscles.
Indoor activities for fine motor skills include sorting games where children put different colored items in separate piles. The repetitive motion helps teach the child’s muscles and brain to work together.
Another great option is teamwork activities where children work with others. This may be something as simple as rolling a ball back and forth.
Outdoor activities such as going to the park, zoo and beach are fantastic recreational options for children with birth injuries. These activities provide new stimuli for children. They also allow them to meet new friends and learn about new things in a relatively controlled environment.
Aquatic therapy allows individuals with birth injuries who have a difficult time exercising on land to do so in an environment with less pressure on their muscles and joints. Aquatic therapy can help improve the strength and function of the muscles. It can also improve balance, flexibility and endurance.
Aquatic therapy is generally conducted under the supervision of a trained physical therapist and with specific adaptive equipment. Families interested in aquatic therapy should ask their health care provider about local options.
The Academy of Aquatic Physical Therapy, a sub department of the American Physical Therapy Association, also offers resources on the topic.
The world of sports is changing to become more inclusive of children with disabilities and special needs.
Adaptive sports allow children with birth injuries to participate with reasonable accommodations. For example, a swimmer with cerebral palsy may be given two swimming lanes for additional mobility during a competition. Wheelchair basketball has also become extremely popular. It offers children with cerebral palsy a new way to participate in the game, along with other adaptations that can be made for shooting and dribbling.
Children with brachial plexus palsy, or Erb’s palsy, can participate in a wider range of sports. There are even children with brachial plexus palsy who have gone on to become successful gymnasts.
Organizations such as CP Sport offer sporting activities for children with birth injuries. You can find local organizations by talking with your health care provider or nearby nonprofits.
Camps allow children with birth injuries to meet new friends and learn new skills. These camps are often hosted by nonprofit organizations and are located outdoors. Camps typically include activities such as swimming, nature walks, fire circles and arts and crafts.
Prominent camps for children with birth injuries include the Midwest Brachial Plexus Network Annual Summer Camp in Missouri, Camp UBPN in New York and Camp Discovery in New Jersey.
Managing Birth Injuries with Recreational Activities
Children with birth injuries can have fun enjoying recreational activities just like other children. There is a wide range of camps, sports organizations and outdoor activities that are specifically geared towards children with birth injuries.
If your child has been diagnosed with a birth injury, this does not mean they cannot live a healthy and enjoyable life. Therapeutic recreational activities can help you and your child relieve stress and stay active.
Check with your local health care provider or nonprofit health care organization to find nearby camps and sports leagues that cater to children with conditions such as cerebral palsy.