We all know that the past few months have been hard on our kids with all the changes happening. One day they came home from school never to return. Their social lives came to a screeching halt and their world has been turned upside down. Most have done well adjusting because as we know, children are resilient. There is one group of children that seems to have been left in the dark, those with disabilities. They are already struggling with their own behaviors and health issues and now their routines have been messed up. These are the children that are having issues adjusting to this “new normal”.
As a Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist (CTRS), I have seen the effects this pandemic has had on our children with disabilities. They can’t fully comprehend what is going on in the world. They don’t understand why they can’t go to school and social events. For those with various intellectual disabilities, their social life is everything! Those with sensory disabilities are having a difficult time adjusting to wearing a mask on their face. In times of big change when their norm becomes chaotic, children may often have a regression in their behaviors. This is why consistency is so important for these children and their families.
I currently work for the City of Scottsdale in Adaptive Services and want to let you know that you are not forgotten. We (all cities) have worked diligently to come up with new programming to meet the needs of your children. We may not be able to meet in person, but many cities across the valley have developed interactive virtual programming. We know and understand the importance of social interaction, a sense of community, and promoting positive affect can have on our participants.
I wanted to share some programming and activities provided by local cities that are targeted to those with disabilities. These cities also offer inclusion services. This means that if your child is interested in signing up for a “typical child” class or not one directly put on by adaptive services, they can and accommodations will be made to meet their needs free of charge! All cities offer resident and non-resident registration. So, don’t be shy to step outside your city for fun!
Chandler – Therapeutic Recreation
Chandler is hosting a series of Zoom calls featuring brain games, fitness activities, cooking, and more. They are also providing Rec N Go Bags with activities to take home. They will begin Boccee Ball on September 12th. Chandler has a Special Olympic team called the Chandler Cougars. For more information you can contact Collette Prather at 480-782-2709
Gilbert – Adaptive Recreation
Gilbert is hosting in-person classes on a smaller scale. These classes include bingo, arts & crafts, baking, and fitness classes. Gilbert has a Special Olympic team called the Gilbert Roadrunners. For more information you can contact Krista Neugebauer at 480-503-6270.
Mesa – Adaptive Leisure
Mesa is hosting a series of Zoom Calls including Zumba, cooking, and Off-Broadway Theater. They are also creating Rec & Go Bags that are filled with activities and supplies that you can pick up. They are hosting a Drive in Movie in October. Their Special Olympic Team is called the Mesa Bulldogs. For more information, you can contact Jacquie Gallo at 480-644-4948.
Scottsdale – Adaptive Services
Scottsdale is hosting daily virtual classes including STEM, fitness, cooking, bingo, life skills, and more. They are also offering Rec 2 Go Bags weekly that provide activities and can be picked up. A virtual dance party is held the second Saturday of the month. Starting September 25th, they will start hosting monthly Drive In Movies. The Scottsdale Special Olympic Team is called the Scottsdale Bobcats. For more information, you can contact Deanna Zuppan at 480-312-2204.
Tempe – Adaptive Recreation
Tempe is hosting a virtual camp during the week. The days are filled with crafts, cooking, and fitness classes. They are also offering the Rec N Go Bags filled with activities and fun that you can pick up. The Tempe Special Olympic team is the Tempe Hawks. For more information, you can contact Samantha Mason at 480-858-2469.