|iSkate founded by Dorothy Hamill|
Few recreational activities can rival the thrill of winter sports. Thanks to a growing number of adaptive winter sports programs, children (and adults) with disabilities can enjoy skiing, skating, ice hockey and sleigh riding. We’ve compiled this brief guide to adaptive winter sports so you’re prepared to hit the ice or the slopes, just in time for the season’s first big freeze or snowfall.
Founded by Olympic gold medalist and figure skater, Dorothy Hamill, Kennedy Krieger Institute’s I-Skate program in Baltimore, Md. is an example of a program that gives children with disabilities including cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, cancer and amputated limbs and paralysis the chance to ice skate. Adaptive ice-skating makes use of equipment such as adaptive ice skates, walkers, ice sleds and helmets to make it possible for skaters to participate safely.
“When I learned to skate,” Hamill told the folks at the KKI, “the motion of gliding on the ice and the fresh air on my face felt like heaven. And learning to handle yourself on the ice, mastering something difficult gives you a sense of pride. I want to give that experience to these children so they will be able to say ‘I can skate.’”
For information about adaptive ice skating programs in your area, visit Gliding Stars.org.