Rehabilitation is important
Rehabilitation aims to improve the abilities of children and young people who have disabilities related to a condition they were born with or have acquired through disease or injury. The goals of rehabilitation are to help them achieve their full potential in all areas of development (eg. mobility, self-care and communication) and participate to the best of their ability in their home, school and community.
Rehabilitation involves looking at what your child can do, developing a treatment plan and providing strategies, education and therapy to improve function. We work closely with the family as a team aiming to be child-focused and family-centered. The team may include doctors, nurses and allied health staff.
Rehabilitation can be provided in the hospital and/or in the community, and we partner with external agencies to achieve safe, efficient and appropriate care for the children and families that access our rehabilitation program.
Recommended sport and recreational activities
We recently surveyed families to ask how we could serve them better. The responses included a request for recommended sport and physical activities that would suit the needs of a child in rehabilitation.
So we've put together the following list.
When choosing services or activities for your child, please discuss your preferences with your clinical team to make sure the activity is appropriate for your child's condition and treatment plan.
Many of the organisations provide specific services for children with disabilities, but others offer generalist activities, so remember to ask specific questions about how your child will be catered for.
Benefits of sport and recreation
- Improves overall health and well-being
- Opportunity for social interaction – new friendships, provide sense of belonging
- Assists to perform better academically, enjoy school and even complete their homework more frequently
- Promotes better mental health –higher self esteem
- Obesity prevention and control, diabetes management and cardiovascular disease prevention
- Can assist with injury prevention.
Active Kids Program
The NSW Government helps kids get active. From 31 January 2018, parents, guardians and careers can apply for a $100 voucher per calendar year for each student enrolled in school.
The voucher can be used at any time during the calendar year it was issues.
To use the voucher, give your voucher details to an approved Active Kids provider. There are now over 8,500 providers where staff at these providers have working with children and insurance checks.
Amputees NSW is affiliated with Athletics NSW and is developing coaching opportunities for adaptive sports spaces. Amputees NSW hosts the only Limb Difference Youth Camp in Australian for teens 12 to 18 years. They are also working on an under 12’s program.
Blind Sports NSW assists people who are blind and vision impaired to compete and participate in sports and recreation within NSW. As a recognised State Sporting Organisation with a Disability, Blind Sports NSW is an advisory body across many sports including cricket, goalball, futsal, athletics, swimming, soccer, NRP, AFL, and netball. Blinds sports NSW run Vision Youth Camps where many different sports are offered.
CP Alliance is a non-for-profit organisation that provides a range of services to people of all ages and disability types. In particular they have expertise in working with people with physical and neurological disability types.
Activities can be modified to assist children with physical and cognitive disabilities. Programs are tailored to the needs of the families.
Wheelchair Sports NSW run camps and 'come and try' sessions for wheelchair sports throughout the year which are specifically aimed at getting youngsters into physical activity. School holiday programs run throughout the year. The age range is from 5-years-old through to teens with physical disabilities, and friends and siblings are welcome to be involved as well.
Wheelchair sports provide specialist coaches to come and introduce different adaptive sports to our juniors in a safe and friendly environment. All of the sports and programs offered are designed for individuals in day chairs or with physical disabilities which impede their capacity to participate in mainstream sports.
Sports include basketball, tennis, rugby, para powerlifting, multi-disability lawn bowls, track and road racing and hand cycling.
All sports development officers and volunteers have current WWCCs. While they are not trained carers, staff have sufficient coaching or teaching experience to deliver adaptive sporting programs.
The RSAC is an unfunded community-based organisation that provides sport, recreation, social activities and opportunities for people with disability. Their mission is to provide services promoting quality of life and inclusion to people with disabilities, their carers and families. RSAC provides a range of other events programs and activities on a one off or annual basis. These include: school holiday sports and activities programs.
Recreation Sports and Aquatic Club is aNDIS provider as well as non-NDIS provider.
Royal Ryde has partnered with disability sport and recreation providers to offer opportunities for children to try new and different activities with sustainable participation opportunities.
Current partners include Sports Climbing Australia, Tennis Australia, Disabled Winter Sport Australia, Wheelchair Sports NSW. Ryde have a return to sport team that can assist. Programs include beach, surf, adaptive yoga, cycling, tennis, gold, and snow sports. Royal Ryde can also refer to other organisations more suitable.
Royal Ryde provided disability specific activities for children from the ages of 16 years of age. Most equipment is purpose build for adults, however it can be modified depending upon the size of the child.
EnableNSW, helps children to access aids and equipment such as wheelchairs, ventilators, prosthetic limbs and consumable items. They provide financial assistance for people who have to travel significant distances to access specialised medical treatment which is not available locally.
Push mobility is Australia’s leading distributor and retailer of best in class beach access products. Push mobility provide both “off the shelf” and made to measure wheelchairs to ensure people have access to the highest quality and best fitting wheelchairs. Push mobility provides sport and recreation products such as adaptive bikes, also assistive aids for home environments.
The Sargood Foundation is a DGR registered charity which supports Sargood on Collaroy in providing people affected by a spinal cord injury with the opportunities to live life to the fullest, and to plan for the long term financial viability of the Centre.
The Sargood Foundation provides funding assistance for essential equipment to facilitate support activities.
The Accessible Beaches campaign was founded in 2016 with a vision of making most patrolled beaches in Australia wheelchair accessible by 2020.
The Disabled Surfers Association (DSAA) is a voluntary organisation, which sets world’s best practice for Disabled Surfers. The DSAA has created opportunities for disabled participants and able-bodies volunteers, to experience safe and happy surfing events whilst under supervision from trained team leaders and beach marshals. The DSAA will attempt to assist children with disabilities, however as a voluntary organization they can be restricted with resources.
Little Heroes swimming academy includes people with special needs because they believe in giving everyone access to the same services. Inclusive swimming lessons are provided through a disability swim program subsidised by their mainstem Learn to Swim lessons. Students are taught water safety skills, drowning prevention education, beach awareness and how to be safer in the water.
Activities can be modified to assist children with physical and cognitive disabilities. Equipment such as wheelchairs for pool and beach and hoists can also be accessed.
The Rainbow Club help children with disability to learn to swim. They are a registered NDIS provider and have twenty-two clubs in NSW that provide swimming lessons for children with a disability (from ages 3-18 years). They operate during the four school terms and all lessons are both individualised and subsidised.
Rainbow Club provides a concentrated focus to help those with a disability acquire the skills needed to stay safe in an aquatic environment.
Swimming NSW aims to provide equal and fair swimming environments to all swimmers, as much as possible. Clubs who have the available resources will tailor their coaching and swimming teaching styles to meet the needs of swimmers with cognitive or physical disabilities.
Trained classifiers will assess children’s disability and swimming style and give the swimmers a classification card which tells swimming referees what limitations the swimmer has. This way they are given a fair opportunity to swim within FINAs swimming rules.
Nereids Aquatic Coaching provides private swimming lessons in Sydney for children and adults with disabilities from the age of 6 months old up to seniors. Lesson plans are designed in such ways to enhance the individual needs of each swimmer.
The Nereids’ teachers adapt the lesson plans accordingly for children and adults with physical and cognitive disabilities.
Nereids swim school provides all the necessary equipment during their private lessons such as kickboards, noodles, toys.
Nereids’ teachers travel to families/children’s homes and provide private swimming lessons in their own pools (backyard or apartment complex pools) across Sydney. Activities can be modified to assist children and adults with physical and cognitive disabilities.
Nereids swim school is an Active Kids Provider, therefore, you can redeem with Nereids the $100 Active Kids voucher for your children.
KinderGym is Gymnastics Australia’s movement-based learning experience for young children and their caregivers.
KinderGym’s program assists in your child’s physical, social and cognitive development. An accredited KinderGym Leader guides each program, ensuring that the equipment set-ups are safe, and provide endless movement opportunities for your child to play and learn. Parents/caregivers also benefit from sharing in their children’s fun and enjoyment.
The Randwick City Council offers gym and aerobics classes, school aged fitness programs, heated swimming pools (i.e. Aqua Play) and 1-on-1 Learn to swim lessons.
The Randwick City Council operates a “School Aged Fitness” program, which is a group-based program for 10-16 years old. This program is instructor lead and supervised, however it is not structured in a way that easily accommodates participants who need personalised attention/assistance.
Children with disabilities are able attend this program with a carer present to assist. Staff can also design a workout session tailored to suit their needs.
RaceRunning is an innovative sport for people with a physical disability who have impaired balance, who are not able to functionally run, regardless of age.
A RaceRunner trike is a custom built three-wheeled frame where the runner is fully supported by a saddle and leans against a chest support, propelling themselves forward by the feet (one or both), while using the hands and/or arms to steer.
Casino Eagle Archers conduct archery lessons and club shooting for both juniors and adults. For juniors to be able to participate they need to be able to pull back a bow, and this can occur if in a wheelchair.
This archery club have the ability to modify activities to assist children with physical and mild cognitive disabilities. Access to equipment can be organised.
The Junior Blasters program teaches girls and boys the skills to play cricket through fun game-based activities. This program caters for children with disabilities and equipment is provided.
Activities are designed for small groups to ensure every child gets a go. Master Blasters is a fun, social cricket program for girls and boys who can bowl with a straight arm over 14 m. Kids get a change to field, bat and bowl.
Little Athletics aims to provide an inclusive environment in which barriers to involvement are removed and all people with a disability feel welcome and comfortable to participate. Children can join with any level of skill or fitness.
Little Athletics is primarily a summer activity, running from September through to March. Some centres also conduct cross-country and road walk events during the winter months.
Art, music and drama
The Bella Program connects people of all ages with disabilities or access requirements with contemporary art. Bella is designed for schools, families, groups and individuals.
All Bella programs are tailored by our experienced artist educators to meet the needs of children and young people with disability or access requirements.
Access Support is a flexible service for all museum visitors with disability or access requirements that is available by request across all programs and events at the MCA. It provides an artist educator to assist in tailoring programs and events, and offer responsive support to increase access and inclusion.
Sound Expression provides friendly and professional Music Therapy, Music Lessons and “Connecting Abilities through Music” group programs for children and adults with disabilities. Expression Sounds are committed to helping to realise our clients’ full potential through music.
They have an expert team of professionals who are qualified with extensive experience working with both children and adults with special needs.
Creativity Inc is a not-for-profit organisation that provides respite, community access, and social and recreation services for over 350 people living with disability throughout Sydney Eastern Suburbs. Creativity Inc cater for children 5-12 years and 13-18 years. Creativity Inc can only provide services to children who have NDIS plans.
KidsXpress is a specialist trauma-focused organisation that provides Expressive Therapy Programs and Trauma-Informed Education Services for children with disability.
Expressive Therapy programs provide opportunities for children aged from 4-14 years to access the therapeutic benefits of music, art, drama, dance-movement and play therapies to enhance a child’s emotional well-being – focusing on safety, awareness and reflection to develop resilience, self-regulation and good mental health.
Questions to ask
We encourage parents and carers to ask questions about the services any organisation is offering. You need to be confident that you child will be catered for appropriately.
Here's a few to get you started.
- Do you have any other children with disabilities currently involved in your club/group/sport team?
- Does your organisation have any disability specific teams? (e.g. netball or soccer team).
- If my child needs modified equipment is that something the organisation can provide?
- Can the activity be modified to allow the child to participate? E.g. are they able to receive physical assistance or use extra equipment to participate?
- Do the staff have specific training to assist children with additional needs?
- Does the organisation encourage parent/career participation when appropriate?
- Is the premise/environment accessible for my child’s needs (i.e. level access, accessible bathroom and parking)