Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

The Reward Is Smiles & Laughter

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

The Reward Is Smiles & Laughter

Article excerpt

On any mild summer day, many people across the country can be found outside enjoying the day on a WhisperGLIDE swing. More than a third of these swings are purchased because centers with one swing have found that they need another swing. Among other benefits, the swing gives parents a chance to reconnect with their children. "Parents and staff normally walk behind the children and have to talk to them from behind them," says Dawn Huckins, administrator at Truman W. Smith Children's Care Center. "But with the swing, they are now able to sit across from the children and interact with them. The children enjoy the chance to get outside and participate in an activity that puts them face-to-face with their parent, rather than the traditional walk around the grounds."

There is great value in leveling the playing field between children with physical disabilities and the able-bodied people surrounding them, says Dr. Michael E. Crawford, Director of Recreational Therapy at the Munroe-Meyer Institute in Omaha, Nebraska. The WhisperGLIDEs can help create an immediate and positive impact on the frequency and quality of interaction between able-bodied and those who are mobility-impaired. This promotes important peer interaction, and increased socializing and cooperation.

EVERYONE CAN JUST PLAY

In its most basic form, a swing provides a chance to play. Melissa Kuisle, Program Manager at Friendship Ventures Summer Camp, says that "because of their disabilities, many of our participants have never spent a night away from home before, never been on a boat, never taken a hike. Parents are reluctant to try many outdoor experiences, because they fear for their child's safety, behavior, or medical risks." The WhisperGLIDE sets out to change that. When Friendship Ventures purchased their first WhisperGLIDE, Kuisle observed campers using wheelchairs who had never been able to swing due to mobility issues finally get to enjoy the swing ride for the first time. …

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