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Sports / Leisure

Sports and other recreational activities are an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and a good way to build self-esteem. Children with spina bifida can participate in many sports and leisure activities. Participation will not only provide excellent social opportunities, but will also help them to control their weight more easily.

Individuals with shunted hydrocephalus should avoid contact sports (ie football or boxing), prolonged pressure on the head (ie head stands), and excessive stretching of the shunted tube (ie somersaults).

Children should be encouraged to become involved in physical games and sports to the extent of their ability. Find ways to adapt activities so that they can participate. Some activities to try:

  • swimming

  • horseback riding

  • adapted baseball

  • canoeing / rowing

There are also many wheelchair sports available that individuals with decreased mobility may want to participate in:

Fun & Relaxation


Rocky Mountain Adaptive Sports Center

Peter Lougheed Provincial Park (William Watson Lodge) --> campsites, accessible trails, equipment rentals

At school

Most children can be involved in a wide variety of physical games and sports in regular phys ed classes, with or without modification. As a general rule, teachers should assume a child can join in the activity and then try to work out what modifications, if any, are needed. Modifications may take the form of:

  • Modifying the whole activity slightly

  • Modifying the rules for the child

  • Modifying equipment used, etc.

Tips for Teachers: Children are often very inventive. Ask the child what he or she can do, as a child often has excellent ideas on how he or she can participate as fully as possible. Remember to ask the rest of the class for ideas too. They will usually have more understanding of the disability and accept modifications to an activity more readily if they have been involved in the process.

Exercise books and videos for the physically disabled:

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