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Recreation and Hobbies
To ensure that blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted Canadians are afforded opportunities to engage and participate in hobbies and recreational activities alongside their sighted peers.
For children and adults alike, hobbies and recreational activities provide for pass-times, social interactions, relationship-building opportunities, and (in some instances) physical activity, all of which are important to a person's overall well-being and happiness.
For blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted Canadians, however, the range of activities that are available and open to them to participate in can be more limited. Even popular fitness programs (such as Yoga) can require some accommodation to be plausible, since the blind or low vision participant cannot simply watch the instructor and copy his or her movements. Popular recreational and sport activities (such as baseball, football, tennis, etc.) present even larger challenges, although in many cases, small adaptations might make all the difference to a potential player.
- Government-funded or sponsored recreational activities should be required to have a plan in place for the inclusion (in some manner) of persons with disabilities in the programming.
- Team and activity leaders need to be open to the possibility of adapting their program for a blind or low vision participant.
- Blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted individuals in a local community need to be put in touch with another, so that they may look at running their own (accessible) activities. The AEBC's local chapters offer an ideal venue for this.
Consider how your own hobbies and recreational activities could be adapted for a person who is blind or who has low vision. When one considers that programs such as the Ski Hawks (based near Ottawa) allow low vision and even blind persons to engage in downhill skiing at all skill levels (from beginner to advanced), it becomes clear that almost anything should be possible if the right approach is taken.