Hobbies, Clubs and Sports
Most of the organisations listed in this section are national ones providing leisure activities for disabled children. They should be able to tell you about their clubs or activities that are local to you. This doesn’t mean your child can’t also access the local activities and clubs their peers go to. Many, such as school clubs, Brownies, Scouts, church and other youth groups, will be keen to be inclusive. Sometimes access can be a problem, but all sorts of barriers can be overcome with some creativity; talk to the organisers. SMA UK is always willing to talk through options and write supporting letters if this would be helpful for you.
Local Authorities (LAs) have a legal duty to provide services for disabled children under 'The Local Offer'. Each LA lists the services that are available in their region. It’s worth checking if there are any clubs or activities advertised in your Local Offer. Contact your LA directly. You can also try following this link on Sky Badger’s website: www.skybadger.co.uk/help/my-local-services/ Any will be keen to be inclusive.
Page last updated: July 2019
Paddle-Ability Providers offer courses and services for disabled paddlers. You can contact any clubs near you to tell them about your child and their interest in getting out on the water and find out if the club can offer any suitable opportunities: www.gopaddling.info/find-local-paddle-ability/
Clubs and Cinema
Cinema Trips can be much cheaper with a CEA Card (Cinema Exhibitors’ Association Card). This works nationally entitling anyone age 8 years and over to one free ticket for a person accompanying them. To apply, your child will need to be receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA), The card currently costs £6.00 a year: www.ceacard.co.uk
Phab England and Wales is a charity working in England and Wales to create opportunities for disabled people to enjoy the same activities and challenges as, and alongside those without a disability. They offer clubs for disabled children ages 8 and up:
Whizz-Kidz Clubs are for wheelchair users aged 8-25 in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In Wales they're available for ages 14-25. www.whizz-kidz.org.uk/get-our-help/young-people/ambassador-clubs
Many children enjoy playing computer games. This can be on their own or with friends. If your child wants to use a computer for playing games, they may need some adaptations to be able to use one independently, for example a ‘light touch’ mouse.
Many children find that touch screen tablets work well as they're small, light, sensitive and easy to manage.
You find related information in the 'Living with SMA' section:
Electronic & Computer Equipment
There’s a wide range of fun and educational apps available, for example doodle and drawing apps, and flashcards:
Several charitable organisations can provide information and advice about specialist computers and gaming equipment:
- AbilityNet – offer advice and training on computer technology for disabled people: www.abilitynet.org.uk/
- Everyone Can - helps disabled people to make the best use of information and communication technology by providing information and support on all aspects of disability computing: www.everyonecan.org.uk
- Special Effect - adapted gaming controls: www.specialeffect.org.uk
For information on keeping children safe online please see the NSPCC website: www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/
Wheels for All is a nationally recognised programme for children and adults with disabilities and differing needs. There are 50 centres equipped with specially adapted cycles and trained leaders.
Families are welcome to be involved:
British Disabled Angling Association - provides information on accessible fishing: www.bdaa.co.uk
Disability Football - a website that shares information about footballing opportunities for disabled people: www.disabilityfootball.co.uk
Wheelchair Football Association (WFA) is the governing body for Powerchair Football in England. They provide information on Powerchair Football and how to get involved: www.thewfa.org.uk
The WFA say: ‘in theory children can join powerchair football clubs at any age. From our perspective players could begin to take part in simple unopposed activity from 4 – 5 years old as long as appropriate safeguards and health and safety measures were in place.'
Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) - this organisation uses horse riding and pony riding to provide therapy and fun all over the UK: www.rda.org.uk
Ellie, age 4, and her riding achievements:
"I would never have believed that horse riding could be so beneficial and bring so much happiness.” Ellie's Grandparent
Sam’s Passion for Boccia and Horse Riding:
Sailability is the Royal Yatching Association’s national programme, enabling disabled people to try sailing and take part regularly. Sailing is open to anyone, no matter what age or disability. The network of approved Sailability sites will have boats and facilities to cater for everyone. You can find out more and search for your nearest Sailability Centre at: www.rya.org.uk/Pages/wheres-my-nearest.aspx/by-programme
Sport in General
To find out about getting your child involved in disability sport, you can contact one of the following organisations:
Disability Sport Northern Ireland runs a range of events, participation programmes, training courses and services: www.dsni.co.uk
Disability Sport Wales have details of disability sport coaches throughout Wales and a community database where you can search for your nearest club by sport and disability: www.disabilitysportwales.com
Activity Alliance can provide inclusion training for sports coaches, information on finding the right sport, clubs and examples of good practice: www.activityalliance.org.uk/how-we-help/programmes
Scottish Disability Sport - promotes the development of sport in Scotland for people of all ages and abilities with a physical, sensory or learning disability. It also has links to disability sailing in Scotland: www.scottishdisabilitysport.com
WheelPower - organise fun, introductory and competitive events for children and adults with disabilities. They list sports and where you can find your nearest centre to play them. They also run a number of events, including youth sport camps for age 5 years upwards: www.wheelpower.org.uk
Tennis Foundation has information on accessible tennis: www.tennisfoundation.org.uk
British Disabled Waterski and Wakeboard Association offer trying out activities with family and friends for all ages: www.bdwsa.org
British Canoeing - provide information on how people of all abilities can get involved: www.britishcanoeing.org.uk
Sailability - part of the Royal Yachting Association. Enable people of all abilities to participate in sailing: www.rya.org.uk/programmes/rya-sailability/Pages/hub.aspx