Hang Ten, Patrick!
So, I know many of you have recently seen the picture of Patrick on Facebook doing adaptive paddle boarding. But how exactly, did this come about?! I recently joined the Board of Directors for Stowe Friends of Adaptive Sports. As Patrick’s mom and an O.T., I appreciate what this dynamic group of people do to get individuals with all kinds of disabilities out and about, enjoying a sport they may never otherwise be able to participate in. For Patrick, his primary participation with this organization is adaptive skiing. This group not only provides the equipment to make adaptive skiing possible, but they provide the scholarship that funds the 2 to 1 ski instructor ratio fees, along with the lift ticket for Patrick.
Stowe Friends of Adaptive Sports also has adaptive aquatics; however, Patrick is already so involved in swimming and has a pool membership, that I never give this avenue a second thought. And, they also have adapted stand up paddle boarding. The thought never occurred to me to try this with Patrick, but the program is being run this summer by 2 new coaches, so these 2 gentlemen came to a board meeting, and BINGO! A light bulb went off while I was sitting there. The “typical” individual who participates in this program is usually a little more mobile than Patrick and can generally stand on the board for short periods. But, I started thinking… why couldn’t Patrick work on sit down paddle boarding?! So, I applied for a one lesson scholarship, and guess what? Patrick loved it! Absolute squeals of delight!! Patrick sat on the board “criss cross applesauce” and at first he leaned back with trepidation on the instructor. Then he gained confidence and the instructor moved back and Patrick was sitting independently!! What an excellent way to work on Patrick’s core muscles!! The instructors, Brian and Noah, were absolutely marvelous!! I think they were a little nervous at first, but they, too, realized how well Patrick was doing and how happy he was! Eventually they wiggled the board and challenged Patrick’s balance, even turning the board quickly to see what Patrick would do! And, yep, you guessed it! He fell in the lake! (Bonus swim for Patrick!) It wasn’t too difficult to get him back on the board, and off they went again. He lasted a full hour for his first session!
Kerplunk! I’m tired!
It was such a success, that Patrick now has a full scholarship for the summer, and we are off to Lake Elmore weekly! How’s that for thinking out of the box, and having a truly happy ending!? (Even better than I imagined!) The therapist in me wants to take his walker one of these days, and see if maybe, just maybe, he may actually be able to try STAND UP paddle boarding….. Hang Ten, Patrick, Hang Ten!!