Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Surf, Sun and AT

Written by LaCandice McCray, CFILC's Outreach and Training Advocate

Often times we think about using assistive technology in the home, at work, or at school. What about using assistive technology for fun? A conference I recently attended in Irvine reminded me that recreation is also an important part of daily living.

August 26-27 was the Amputee Coalition of America’s national conference. For the past 3 years, this conference has been held in Atlanta. 2010 was the first time this conference took place in California. I attended workshops about orthotics and prosthetics, learned about the concerns of the amputee community, and networked with vendors and organizations from all over the country. I also tried different types of AT used for recreation like an adaptive skateboard. Similarly, there were several organizations attending the conference in the field of adaptive sports. Information about swimming, tennis, hiking, and extreme sports was largely available for attendees.

One example of an adaptive sports organization in California is the Association of Amputee Surfers. AMP Surf (for short) organizes surfing clinics for amputees, veterans, and people with disabilities around Southern California. Their mission is to encourage adaptive surfing and other outdoor activities through PIER: Promote, Inspire, Educate, and Rehabilitate. In addition to participating in surfing clinics, there are opportunities to volunteer with AMP Surf or sponsor a clinic. For more information about the Association of Amputee Surfers, visit:

Organizations like AMP Surf remind us that we all need a little sun once in awhile. Not only can recreation be fun with assistive technology, but its use can promote pride in disability and participation in mainstream activities. What are some recreational activities you have participated in with AT? Have you encountered any barriers along the way?

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