Rachel Mendelsohn, DPT, PT on Adaptive Recreation

When the instructors at WAS present the option to try new skills in a safe environment with the assumption that anything is possible,  I have seen a huge improvement in participants’ self-confidence and their willingness to try other tasks.

 

For my day job, I work as a pediatric physical therapist for Primary Children’s Hospital. Most of my days are spent with families and children teaching and assisting them with strengthening, stretching, or learning new motor skills to improve their ability to play, live, and simply, “be a kid”. While there are so many things that I can teach within the clinic, the real responsibility lies in the families and parents who have to translate the skills they learn here and apply them to their homes, schools, and communities. Sometimes, I feel like there is a lapse in what I can give because the application of these skills is often difficult for families in other settings. This is where I believe Wasatch Adaptive Sports offers the biggest opportunity to its participants.

WAS has the unique ability to help families, children, and adults in helping to translate skills that I teach in the clinic into a community setting. While each participant is skiing, biking, stand up paddle boarding, hiking, or just interacting with peers there so many opportunities for them to practice skills that they learn in therapy. Each participant is working on endurance, balance, strength, coordination, following instructions, identifying sensations, dealing with frustration, and many other skills.  Wasatch Adaptive Sports and the instructors make these skills fun and apply them to activities that we cannot provide in our small clinic.  Not only are there physical benefits, Wasatch Adaptive Sports has a huge impact on participant’s confidence.

Rachel was one of 40 volunteers who made this winter season a huge success! Thank you to all who gave their time to WAS!

One of the biggest challenges I encounter when treating patients is that their self-confidence is impacted secondary to their difficulty they have in learning new tasks and participating. Many of my patients are very fearful when trying new skills or aren’t presented with the opportunity to try new things because of their limitations. When the instructors at WAS present the option to try new skills in a safe environment with the assumption that anything is possible,  I have seen a huge improvement in participants’ self-confidence and their willingness to try other tasks.

In addition to addressing physical and emotional aspects of life, the instructors and volunteers genuinely love what they do and care about each participant. The instructors learn the participants’ names, diagnoses, names of their parents and friends, and the participants’ passions and struggles in order to make the experience also about a personal connection. I think the depths of the relationships that the instructors and volunteers build have a lasting impact on both parties.

My words cannot express how much of a positive effect I have seen WAS have on participants, families, and volunteers in Salt Lake City and Utah Valley.  I am thankful that I get to see and be a part of Wasatch Adaptive Sports.

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Wasatch Adaptive Sports
Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort
9385 S, Snowbird Center Dr.
Snowbird, Utah, 84092-9000

Phone: (801) 933-2188

Fax: (801) 935-8338

info@wasatchadaptivesports.org

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