We all love the accelerating feeling we get when we participate in activities that give us pleasure and joy such as socialising with friends, partaking in physical activities and sports as well as relaxation. And as professionals working with individuals with disabilities we recognise the importance of leisure activities in promoting quality of life and social integration. However with the nights drawing in engagement in our usual leisure activities and hobbies can become more difficult. If you are less able though, due to a disability or the natural ageing process, just accessing hobbies and enjoyable activities can be challenging at the best of times. So in this month newsletter we would like to focus on some of the physical leisure pursuits we have facilitated our clients to return to and enjoy despite their residual physical disabilities.

Skiing with a disability

There is no real reason why somebody with a physical disability should stay of the slopes. In fact a client I worked with a few years back after taking him to disabled skiing club at Milton Keynes, kept on raving about how much he enjoyed the experience he thought he would never have again and went on to booking himself and his partner on a skiing holiday the very next day!! Needless to say he still goes skiing on a regular basis.
To find out more about skiing for the disabled visit: www.snowlife.org.uk/ski/skiing-with-disabilities.asp

Sailing

Sailing is a sport which can be enjoyed by disabled people with a range a difficulties and impairments. The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Sailability is a national organising charity, its mission statement is to promote and coordinate active participation by people with disabilities in the sailing community. The RYA website has useful information to enable people to find out about local venues, training and events.


For more information visit: www.rya.org.uk/
Sailability also has an equipment directory: www.sailability.co.uk

Angling



Angling is a sport that people of all levels of ability can enjoy. I have worked with several people with neurological disorders who have continued to enjoy fishing, some using adapted equipment. Many local water authorities and private venues have wheelchair accessible fishing and some offer wheely boats which enable wheelchair users to fish out on the water.

There are a number of companies which specialise in adapted equipment to enable anglers to overcome a wide range of difficulties.

The British Disabled Angling Association has a website with lots of useful information and contact details: www.bdaa.co.uk

Useful tips for disabled anglers can also be found on the wheely boat trust and incomplete angler websites: www.disabled-angler.co.uk, www.wheelyboats.org

For those individuals who would enjoy a less active hobby, Pilates, Tai Chi or yoga can be a good alternative.

Yoga

There are many forms of Yoga and Hatha yoga is one of the oldest forms of exercise for the body. Physical exercises aim to stretch, flex and tone, keeping the body healthy and particularly the back strong. The exercises are designed to energise you, release muscle tone and make you feel good. Hatha Yoga is a safe form of exercise for many people with a range of disabilities, what ever their level of fitness, although it is always advisable to check with a doctor before doing yoga if you have any health or back problems. Exercises can be carried out in sitting if a person is unable to stand or lie down. There are many local yoga classes and often trainers will devise individual programmes for people to do at home.

Gail Willis is an exponent and teacher of Hatha Yoga known to us in Northamptonshire; she runs local classes and can work out programmes for individuals.

Contact her on: 01536 515311 or mobile: 07762575118

The news here at IRS is that we continue to enjoy the new referrals coming in, including from private individuals approaching us as a direct result of one of our recent marketing initiatives. We also have had discussions with two qualified hand therapists, who are keen to join our team to provided specialist hand therapy. We will of course keep you informed on how this progresses, but you may also wish to keep an eye on our website (www.irs.gb.com) for more details on this in the New Year.

We have furthermore been working very closely with a local physiotherapist Jon Graham (Physiofunction) and are exploring the possibility of providing neurological splinting services to his clients. Jon has also kindly agree to write and article for our newsletter in the new year on the “Saeboflex and Saebostretch” which he is using very successfully with some of his client who have sustained a neurological injury affecting their upper limb functioning.

Declan McNichol

Bill Young

Angela Gordon

Birgit Rathje-Vale

Helen Smart