New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) is offering a trip to Long Island for young patients with disabilities including cerebral palsy (CP) to try adaptive surfing, a practice gaining attention for its therapeutic benefits.
The trip is organized by the Adaptive Sports Academy at HSS and includes people with CP, patients who have had amputations, and others with physical challenges.
Activities like adaptive surfing have been shown to help pediatric patients build self-confidence and independence, and increase physical fitness and mobility.
“The Adaptive Sports Academy gives our patients a chance to develop new skills and interests, and it promotes mobility and activity. It also reinforces therapy goals by engaging participants in a new activity and requiring them to use their bodies in a new way,” Lisa Ipp, chief of pediatric medicine at HSS, said in a press release.
“There is also an emotional component. Patients are so excited about what they can achieve, and parents are so thrilled to watch them. The outings have also cultivated connections between families who stay in contact long after the event ends,” Ipp added.
The first trip is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 14, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Long Beach, Long Island. Trained volunteers from Skudin Surf will accompany the young participants.
HSS works with many volunteers from local and national adaptive sports organizations to support patients attending the academy’s initiatives.
Several participants attending the surfing excursion have CP. Most participants have dealt with numerous surgeries, and many use crutches or a walker to get around. One patient has a prosthetic leg, and some will need a wheelchair to get into the water.
But adaptive surfing has all of these challenges covered, like during previous trips when participants climbed a rock wall and skied down a slope.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the kids to socialize with other patients and accomplish things they didn’t realize they could achieve,” said Peyton Katz, pediatric patient and family care coordinator at HSS. “It’s also an incredible experience for parents who become aware of what their children are capable of.”
The adaptive surfing program is free for participants and supported by the academy’s sponsors. After the surfing event, patients also can try horseback riding.
Another trip is scheduled in Mount Kisco, New York, at the end of August.
“Some kids are not sure at first how well they’ll do, but they always exceed their own expectations,” Peyton said. “Some parents cry when they see what their child can accomplish.”