Adaptive Equipment for Leisure Activities

Written by jaime golden
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Adaptive Equipment for Leisure Activities
It is important that people with disabilities are still able to participate in leisure and recreational activities. (D. Anschutz/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Recreational and leisure activities bring joy and fulfilment to their participants. Individuals who are blind or have disabilities enjoy these activities as much as able-bodied and sighted individuals. Recreational and occupational therapists strive to find ways in which the disabled and blind can participate in their desired leisure activities. Many recreational activities can still be sought, just with the use of adaptive equipment in place.


Bowling alleys commonly have ramps for wheelchair users and visually impaired individuals. Other adaptive bowling equipment are balls with gripping handles (rather than finger-holds), ball-pushers or ball sticks and carpet strips for visually impaired individuals to stay on course.

Fishing and Hunting

Fishing and hunting are outdoor recreational activities with many adaptive tools available. Fishing equipment includes hands-free casting and retrieval devices, arm supporters, easy casters, knot tiers and fishing assistants. For the hunter there are gun mounts, bow and arrow holders, body warmers, shooting sticks and tree stands.

Horse Riding Equipment

Horse riding uses specialised saddles (which can hold riders in place), cushions, balance vests, cinches, belts, reins and saddles which accommodate riders with disabilities and their caregivers, cushions and carriages in which the horse pulls the rider.


Adaptive equipment used in cycling includes hand cranks, side-by-side bikes, trikes and tandem bikes. Hand cranks allow riders without the use of their legs to pedal and steer a bike. A side-by-side bike allows a person with disabilities to ride next to another cycle for extra support. Trikes are three-wheel bikes which allow riders with balance problems to ride their own bicycle. Finally, a tandem bike allows blind and partially blind cycle riders to ride with a sighted person.

Water Sports

Whether swimming, kayaking or water skiing, there are several adaptive tools available. A swimmer may use flotation devices such as swim rings, life jackets or waist belts; speciality swim fins made for amputees and beeping devices for blind swimmers. Kayakers may use custom-made seats, foam floats, wetsuits, helmets, seat belts and watersports prosthesis for amputees. Water skiers have the use of sit-skis, saucers or discs, ski trainers, ski-bras, slings and dual handles.

Winter Sports

Winter sports include Nordic and cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing. Both Nordic and cross-country skiing have adaptive equipment in which the user can sit or stand. Adaptive snowmobiles are operated with hand controls and may have straps or belts for safety. Snowshoeing can be adapted for those that have some mobility, by using crutch-type poles or larger snowshoes. If unable to snowshoe, an individual may choose traditional sledding or dog-sledding instead.

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