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Thinking ahead for accessible summer fun
May 23, 2023
Mom and kids on an outing with a child in a wheelchair

    Thinking ahead for accessible summer fun

    Summer is the season of adventure. If your summer fun includes a child who uses a wheelchair or has other mobility considerations, thinking ahead can create a smooth and successful outing for everyone.

    Allie Fagan, recreation therapy tech at our Brook Road Pavilion, specializes in engaging kids of all mobility levels in fun activities. She offers some recommendations for wheelchair-friendly outings.

    What are some of the key considerations when planning an outing with a child who uses a wheelchair?

    • First, you’ll want to make sure the place is accessible for your child’s wheelchair. This may seem obvious, but not all wheelchairs are the same so it’s important to make sure your child’s specific chair fits where you’re trying to go.
    • Find out what accommodations they have if you need to change your child who might be larger than a typical baby changing station.
    • If you are going outdoors, make sure there is plenty of shade or cover for unexpected weather.
    • How is the terrain? Have a plan for maneuvering on inclines, gravel walkways, sand, etc.

    What are some of your favorite wheelchair accessible places to take kids in and around Richmond, VA during the summer?

    While this isn’t an all-inclusive list, we’ve taken groups on successful outings to the following locations. There are many more wheelchair-friendly destinations!

    What can everyone do to help with accessibility in the community?

    As you’re out and about, talk with your kids about how everyone can support accessibility for others.

    • Don’t park or pull up in front of a ramp in the curb, which would make it difficult for people in wheelchairs to access the sidewalk.
    • If you park next to a handicapped space in a parking lot, make sure there is plenty of room for a wheelchair and wheelchair lift between the two vehicles.
    • Avoid using the handicapped/family restrooms if you don’t need them. Wheelchairs don’t fit into regular stalls. Even if the caregiver is the one using the restroom, they may need to bring their child in with them.
    • If you’re looking at an exhibit or show that’s eye level, be mindful that people in wheelchairs often aren’t able to look over or through the crowd to see. Offering them a spot in the front will allow them to enjoy what’s happening too.
    • When seeing a movie in the theater, avoid sitting in seats next to the wheelchair spaces. These seats are often marked with a wheelchair symbol to indicate that they are for wheelchair users and their companions.

    Find more news, knowledge and healthy fun for your family on our blog.


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