Able2Do Anything: Sports

COVID-19: Online workout for disabled children

class at flamingo chicks

With the COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown continuing to at least May we are being encouraged not to forget our daily exercise.

Thousands are switching in to workout regimes online, but for some keeping up with the likes of Joe Wicks can be pretty tiresome.

One charity who realises kids with conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism and learning disabilities need special exercises to keep them in shape is Flamingo Chicks.

A recent study found 65% of parents with disabled children are starting to feel the brunt of isolation.

Taking the statistic into account charity founder Katie, who is mum to a disabled daughter, wanted to help these families by providing an online workout suitable for all ages.

‘Being out of routine, missing family plus the familiarity of support that in normal times comes with school and the raft of healthcare professionals we usually access is unsettling for our children.

‘Many are finding that challenging behaviour is therefore magnified.

‘It’s physically and mentally demanding to be a full-time carer and many are also juggling work without being able to access childcare support. It’s a recipe for extreme levels of stress placed on families.’

Katie noticed there was very limited exercises available for disabled youngsters online.

She continued: ‘We partnered with science charity Lightyear Foundation to offer a unique blend of movement and science – supporting families both in terms of their child’s physical and mental well-being but also keeping up their school work, with each session linked to the national curriculum.’

The online regimes are filmed in front of green screens which project animated backgrounds to make the workouts even more exciting complete with storytelling and music which use BSL and subtitles.

Katie said: ‘It allows children to express themselves in different ways, increasing their confidence, and enabling them to reach their full potential.

‘Dance also develops key skills such as teamwork, communication skills, and problem solving whilst immersing children in a creative environment where they can feel free to be themselves.’

She added: ‘We’ve had a sea of emails, messages and social posts from families as well as health, social care and education professionals saying how valued these new resources are.’

‘The thread through all the responses is the sense that disabled children and their families don’t feel alone – they feel connected again and part of something.

‘We hope that our classes will provide people with truly meaningful experiences that not only brighten their day and provide joy in the moment, but also empower them in their lives.

‘The aim is to build confidence in their abilities and help them learn new skills, whilst also celebrating who they are and creating a community of people that feel included, recognised and able to fulfill their potential.’

The charity also provides craft activities, meditation and relaxation videos.

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