Posts Tagged ‘swimming’

Accommodations help vacationers with special needs

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

mom and daughter in poolGetting a change of scene, even for a day, is GOOD for you and your child with special needs. And now, it is getting easier to do.

I have blogged about the importance of taking time for yourself, and have posted tips on traveling with a child with special needs. But, often parents of kids with special needs don’t go on vacation as a family because they feel that their child’s special needs may not be met at hotels, restaurants or in theme parks. But, the chronic stress associated with your daily life can catch up with you; it is not good physically, emotionally or mentally for you to never re-new your energy. Here is some good news if you are thinking of spending a day at a theme park or going away for the Labor Day weekend.

My two grown kids and I just got back from a vacation where we visited several theme parks. We had a fabulous time going on rides, swimming at the hotel pool, and just spending time together. The breaks from our usual routines were much needed, and we all returned home with renewed energy and enthusiasm.

At the various theme parks we visited, I was heartened to see accommodations for individuals with special needs. “Family Restrooms” are common, where you can take your child into a restroom in privacy, comfort and safety. Ramps or special entrances enable buildings with attractions to be wheelchair-accessible. Amphitheaters are outfitted with numerous seating sections for groups that have a family member in a wheelchair. Sign language interpreters accompany certain shows, and braille can be found on park maps. Many theme parks have staff especially devoted to making sure that guests with disabilities or special needs are accommodated and welcomed. Often sports stadiums or ball parks have days especially dedicated to individuals with disabilities.

At many of the restaurants we went to, gluten free menus were prominently displayed. At our hotel, we observed accommodations for guests with disabilities:  the outdoor hot tub had a chair lift to assist individuals who cannot go down steps, and special room accommodations were available for hearing impaired guests.

Often you can find theaters that offer “sensory friendly” movies or performances, where the lights are dimmed but are not fully off, the sound or music is lowered, and families can bring their own snacks. Children are not discouraged from getting out of their seats to dance or wiggle around on the floor.

Although the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been the driving force behind many of the physical changes in public places, organizations or businesses often go above and beyond the requirements of the ADA to make sure their guests are able to take full advantage of their offerings. The inclusive, welcoming attitude of these organizations is apparent and makes it easier and more enjoyable for you to spend a fun day with your entire family.

Bottom line

If you are heading out of town for the weekend, thinking of going to a theme park or sports stadium for the day, or simply wish to go to a restaurant to eat, check out the website of the venue or call them to see the kind of accommodations they offer.  The information is usually listed under Guest Services, Accessibility Guide, Access Guide, Disability Services, or a similar title. With so many recent positive changes, there are fewer reasons to stay home and not take full advantage of a wonderful family outing.

Note: This post is part of the weekly series Delays and disabilities – how to get help for your child. It was started in January 2013 and appears every Wednesday. Go to News Moms Need and click on “Help for your child” on the menu on the right side to view all of the blog posts to date. As always, we welcome your comments and input.

Have questions? Send them to AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Meeting other moms

Monday, October 19th, 2009

60516849_thbOn most days it’s just me and my 9 month old. My husband works long hours. We moved about a year ago and I’m further away from my friends. Needless to say, I’m feeling a little isolated. And with winter approaching it’s only going to get worse. I don’t want the majority of our outings spent roaming around a shopping mall or grocery store. I need to branch out and get to know other moms. After having a new baby, what are some ways for new moms to network and meet other new moms in their area? Please help!

Exercise during pregnancy – the good, the bad, and the ugly

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

pregnant-exerciseIt used to be that pregnancy finally offered a good reason to sit down and put your feet up. But times have changed.  Most pregnant women in good health should try to get 30 minutes of aerobic exercise (walking, swimming, dancing) on most, if not all, days. Dang!  No excuse to snooze here!

Most of us are aware of the many benefits of exercise, but when you’re pregnant and feeling wiped out?  Actually, regular exercise gives you a healthy buzz helping you feel better physically and emotionally, and the calories burned help prevent outrageous weight gain.  Exercise can relieve stress (what stress?) and build up stamina needed for labor and delivery.  It can help prevent gestational diabetes, a form of diabetes that sometimes develops during pregnancy. It can also help women cope during the postpartum period (did someone say stress again?) Exercise can help new moms keep the “baby blues” at bay, regain their energy and lose the weight they gained during pregnancy. All good stuff, so go for it!

But before you go out and run a marathon, talk with your health care provider. Not all pregnant women should exercise, especially if they are at risk of preterm labor or suffer from a serious ailment, such as heart or lung disease. So check with your doc or midwife before you start an exercise program.

Next, pick things you think you’ll like. Who’s going to stick with a routine that’s a total drag, even if it is good for you?  Make it fun – try several things. Check out running, hiking or dancing, if you like.  (Belly dancing for pregnant women is an absolute hoot!)  Brisk walking for 30 minutes or more is an excellent way to get the aerobic benefits of exercise, and you don’t need to join a health club or buy any special equipment. I found swimming at the local YWCA a great sport, especially in the third trimester when my knees were hurting me. The water supports the weight of your growing body, protects your joints and provides resistance that helps bring your heart rate up. Our colleague Anne got a real charge out of yoga classes designed for pregnant women. You may find that a variety of activities helps keep you motivated to continue exercising throughout your pregnancy – and beyond.

Be careful when choosing a sport. Avoid any activities that put you at high risk for injury, such as horseback riding or downhill skiing. Stay away from sports in which you could get hit in the belly, such as ice hockey, kickboxing or soccer. Especially after the third month, avoid exercises that require you to lie flat on your back. Lying on your back can restrict the flow of blood to the uterus and endanger your baby. Finally, never scuba dive. As great as the water feels to you, this sport may lead to dangerous gas bubbles in the baby’s circulatory system.

When you exercise, pay attention to how you feel. Don’t overdo it—try to build up your level of fitness gradually. If you have any serious problems, such as vaginal bleeding, dizziness, headaches, chest pain, decreased fetal movement or contractions, stop exercising and contact your health care provider immediately.

With a little bit of caution, you can achieve or maintain a level of fitness that would shock your grandmother. You’ll feel and look better. And yes, you can still put your feet up—after you’ve come back from your walk.

For more information, read the March of Dimes fact sheet Fitness for Two.

Brushing up on water safety and CPR

Monday, July 20th, 2009

pool-jumpSplashing with my granddaughter over the weekend made me think of water safety for kids. Not long ago I underwent a refresher course in CPR with some of my colleagues.  I’m relieved to know that someone else in the building knows what to do if I slip on something in the parking lot or take a tumble down stairs.  The area around swimming pools is wet and can be slippery.  Kids and adults can fall and get hurt.  I think it would be an excellent idea for parents to take course in pool safety and CPR.  Sure, there should be a lifeguard on duty, but what if she is busy with someone else?  What if you’re at a pond or the beach where there is no lifeguard?

The Red Cross is an organization that offers widely recognized CPR programs. Get together with a few friends and find a CPR class. It’s a life-saving skill, and you never know when you may need to use it on your own or someone else’s child.  It’s a great skill for parents to have to keep children safe, especially in the summer months if your kids are swimmers.

Water safety for your tots

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

learning-water-safety-cropped1My son has a boat and now that it’s warm he and his family are on it as often as possible.  My three-year-old grandson constantly begs, “Me fish, too!”  While he is always in a life jacket and they watch him like a hawk, he is taking a water safety course now.  Lots of pools and beaches have water safety and swimming lessons for toddlers.  They show parents how to properly fit their child into a life jacket and many safety precautions.  Kiddies are taught to float on their backs, to relax and not fear the water, and then to swim.  If your tots are small and can’t swim, look into a water safety course for all of you.  And if your kids are older, review some good safety tips.  For people between the ages of 5 and 24, drowning is the second cause of accidental death, so a review at the beginning of the summer is important.

It’s Memorial Day Weekend and lots of people are getting ready to start splashing in the pool and at the beach.  This week, May 18–24, 2009 marks the fifth annual National Recreational Water Illness Prevention Week. This yearly observance is an opportunity for everyone to learn more about healthy swimming behaviors and other steps to prevent recreational water illnesses (RWIs) and injuries. RWIs are illnesses spread by swallowing, breathing in the vapors from, or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, water parks, spas, interactive fountains, ponds, lakes, rivers, or oceans. Injuries at aquatics facilities can occur in or out of the water.  Read what the CDC has to say about preventing pool chemical injuries, ways to keep germs out of the pool, and more.   And have fun this weekend!