Medical conditions that warrant wheelchair use range from paralysis to congenital diseases. Not long ago, individuals in wheelchairs suffered the stigma of fragility and helplessness. Today, activities for people in wheelchairs move beyond board games and reading. Individual medical conditions aside, a wide variety of handicapped activities exist today through local organisations, businesses and government agencies.
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Sports clubs or teams for people in wheelchairs offer a physical outlet along with a strong support network. Not surprisingly, in a 2009 study at the University of Alberta in Canada, researchers found that wheelchair-bound rugby players felt an increased sense of purpose and emotional connection. Many community centres offer wheelchair basketball, baseball and volleyball teams for disabled members of the community. Organizations like Wheelchair and Ambulatory Sports USA and Mobility Adviser offer directories of wheelchair sports teams throughout the United States.
Art can offer a therapeutic outlet for people in wheelchairs, even those who had no previous experience in this field. Many types of artwork are naturally handicapped accessible and require fewer modifications or equipment to perform. Pottery, for example, is an activity that someone in a wheelchair can participate in if they have use of both hands; painting is another pastime that many disabled people find satisfying, even with the use of only one hand. Many local art studios are handicapped accessible and some community centres offer art or art therapy for individuals in wheelchairs. Organizations like Art 4 Healing and American Art Therapy Association are good resources for those looking for a more therapeutic experience.
Cultural and Spectator Events
Individuals in wheelchairs can participate in a variety of cultural and spectator events. Many larger science and historical museums offer handicapped accommodations ranging from personalised tour guides to specialised mobility maps detailing the accessible elevators. Most professional sporting events or concerts offer upfront seating specifically for people in wheelchairs. Call ahead to maximise the available accommodations and to ensure available handicapped seating.
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