With the onset of puberty, mainstream school students 11-14 years with cerebral palsy are likely to experience some loss of function. This can affect their ability to move around their school environment and participate in physical activities that they had previously enjoyed.
Research has shown that fitness programs aimed specifically at improving muscle strength in young adolescents with CP can improve their ability to participate, as well as contribute to an increased sense of wellbeing, self-esteem and improved body image.
However, due to a number of barriers including the lack of knowledge in adapting fitness programs or equipment for people with disabilities, many people with CP are often reluctant to take the first step in accessing community fitness programs.
To overcome these barriers, the School Age Intervention Program run in Western Australia has developed a facility to be used by people with disabilities as a stepping-stone to accessing community based fitness options.
Featuring generic equipment for strength training, cardiovascular fitness training and research assessment, the facility provides a consultancy service for clients and their primary therapists.
Educational workshops and seminars for clients, therapists and staff from community organisations will also be held to enhance the opportunities for access to local community recreation options.