Summer activities for children with cerebral palsy
As the summer holidays are getting closer, this can be a stressful and daunting time for parents of children with special needs. There is a lot of time to fill and finding the most suitable activities to entertain children who have suffered brain injuries can be challenging. This blog aims to provide a few suggestions and highlight the benefits of some of these activities.
Swimming and hydrotherapy
In the heat of the summer, going swimming or taking part in hydrotherapy is extremely refreshing but it also has many benefits for children with cerebral palsy. Swimming has been demonstrated to be hugely beneficial and many of the children that we represent in the child brain injury team take part in regular hydrotherapy sessions as part of their rehabilitation packages as part of their compensation. My colleague, Marie-Joelle Theanne, discusses the benefits of hydrotherapy in more detail in her blog.
Some of the benefits our clients have found are:
- Improvements in balance
Aside from the benefits of hydrotherapy for children with cerebral palsy, our clients often find they enjoy being in the water and going swimming because they can move more freely as there is less restriction within the water. This freedom allows them to complete a range of exercises which they would struggle to do out of water. Some swimming pools offer special opening hours for children with special needs so it would be worth enquiring at your local pool.
A day out at the football
Why not visit Stamford Bridge to watch a football match from the comfort of your child’s very own sensory room?
Studies have shown that children who have suffered brain injuries, including cerebral palsy, can often enjoy and find comfort from a sensory room. A sensory room is specially designed to appeal to an individual’s senses through lighting, tactile toys, music, materials and objects. It may also be used as a form of therapy for children who struggle with communication.
In 2018 Stamford Bridge stadium was one of the first stadiums to build their very own sensory room. In the room, you can watch football matches in a safe and stress-free environment, avoiding the crowds with a room which can be personalised to meet a child’s needs.
If your child has a love for animals, specifically horses, horse riding is an activity that is not only pleasurable, it can improve your child’s health and wellbeing. Many of our clients have benefitted from the experience of horse riding and it offers a range of challenges, both physical and mental within a safe environment with experienced professionals. The sensory experience of horse riding, enables children to explore their senses through sight, touch, smell and sound. My colleague Claudia talks about the role of Hippotherapy in rehabilitation in her blog.
BBK sponsor a pony at Penniwells Riding School called Coco. Peniwells Riding School is a specialised centre for riders with disabilities. The horses are specifically trained for the unique work that they do and the professionals that work at Penniwells ensure that each rider’s specific needs are met. My colleague Jo Chapman talks about her experience at Penniwells and how BBK supports them in her blog.
Other activities involving animals
If your child has a love for animals but horse riding isn’t for them, why not go to a petting zoo or an aquarium instead? The National Marine Aquarium has selective dates throughout the year where it opens its doors specifically for families and people with autism and other sensory needs. The lighting is more relaxed and the atmosphere quieter without the usual crowds, allowing the focus to be on the animals in a less stressful environment.
Activities from home
Since the start of the Covid pandemic in 2020 activities that can take place from your own home have flourished. We understand at BBK that being constantly out and about can be challenging for parents of children with special needs, but there are lots of activities that can take place at home. Many of our clients enjoy arts and crafts such as painting and drawing. These activities can help with motor skill development and sensory development, as well as being a lot of fun! The Cerebra Innovation Centre is a great place to look for equipment that is designed specifically for children with SEN.
How can we help you?
In the Child Brain Injury team at BBK we understand the huge range of benefits that activities and therapy can have for children who have a brain injury. We strive to ensure our clients have access to a wide variety of beneficial treatments and enriching activities the cost of which can be included as part of their compensation claim. This may include some of the ones I have discussed above such as hydrotherapy and horse riding.
At BBK we represent children who have suffered brain injuries as a result of clinical negligence. If the cause of your child’s brain injury was due to negligent medical treatment and there is expert evidence that supports this, we will aim to recover the costs of rehabilitation and therapy from the compensation. This can help to fund rehabilitation options that are not accessible through the NHS, such as Neurologic Music Therapy.