Accessible activities for adults with a disability in Australia

Taking time for leisurely activities is essential, to get the mind working and the body moving. This is especially the case for an adult with a disability. It can take time to find a pastime that caters to you or your loved one’s disability, but once you do it can become a routine way to blow off some steam. Whether you’re lost for things to do, or simply want to add to your list, these activities for adults with a disability are both fun and inclusive.

Wheelchair basketball

According to the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF), 100,000 people around the world participated in wheelchair basketball in 2020. Its popularity amongst adults with a disability is undeniable. You can feel like a paralympic star yourself and shoot some hoops while feeling welcomed in a friendly, team-based community. Wheelchair basketball caters to individuals with issues with their lower body functionality, and use wheelchairs for day-to-day transport. The sport’s participants can obtain a mountain of health benefits, including improved cardiovascular endurance, increased upper body strength and overall refinement of hand-eye coordination. However, it is perhaps the social aspect that bears the greatest benefit. Get to know new people and make long-lasting friendships as you take on other teams. You will certainly spark your competitive spirit after your first three-pointer.

wheelchair basketball game
© AdobeStock

Chair yoga

A study by The National Library of Medicine found that chair yoga leads to statistically significant enhancements in body awareness among adults with physical disabilities. This is music to the ears of some adults with a disability, who may be looking for the best way to get active and moving. The gentle manipulation of movements performed during chair yoga is extremely beneficial to those needing to get themselves moving. Chair yoga can help to increase one’s overall range of motion while boosting strength and flexibility. Take control of your body in a way that may feel foreign, all in the comfort of your chair. You’ll see improvements in your mood too. By participating in productive physical activity in your regular seated position, your mind will gradually link it to a positive activity. Whether you’re joining a yoga group, stretching with friends or just participating at home, the benefits are equally impressive. 

classroom of people doing chair yoga
© AdobeStock

Sailing

Embark on a seafaring adventure, with sprays of sea water and gusts of wind rushing past your ears. A truly unique experience, sailing in Australia has become one of the best activities for adults with a disability. With programs such as Sailability and Making Waves, those diagnosed with intellectual or physical disabilities can step aboard safely. Sailing can be a terrific way to reap the health benefits of the great outdoors. Between the Vitamin D rays of the sun to the exfoliating salts of the ocean, the advantages are boundless. Adventure as a real-life pirate, with programs teaching adults with a disability the ropes when it comes to sailing. You will voyage with experienced sailors and participate in inclusive club competitions. You can rest assured knowing you are gliding across the ocean with the best in the business, while learning a few things along the way.

Arts and crafts

While the idea of arts and crafts may be a slower change of pace for some, those with intellectual impairments may disagree. Real life can become overbearing for some, so the act of arts and crafts can be a tranquil escape. Many adults with a disability turn to arts and crafts in pursuit of creative release. It can be a way to release emotions, ideas, or simply boredom. Many arts and crafts workshops provide group classes. However, if you prefer a more intimate setting, pick up some paint and glue and kick off your art career at home. Scrapbook beloved memories. Create paper mache masterpieces. Or, colour in your favourite cartoon characters. Whatever it is that gets your creative juices going, you can create it in style.

Two friends with down syndrome doing arts and crafts
© AdobeStock

Wheelchair Rugby 

Wheelchair Rugby is one of the best activities for adults with a disability, with Australia sitting second globally in the Wheelchair Rugby Federation Rankings. Formed in 1976, Wheelchair Rugby has since grown to be an intense and electrifying sport for quadriplegics. It plays the role of an alternative to wheelchair basketball, catering to those with reduced arm and hand functionality as well. This full-contact sport is team-based for both men and women, where the aim of the game is to score by carrying the ball across the goal. Collisions are part of the fun and are an exhilarating way to blow off some steam. Wheelchair Rugby Australia hosts a multitude of events and competitions, for both newcomers and seasoned veterans. 

Accessible film studies 

The movie industry is one of the largest forms of mass media around the globe. From Hollywood blockbusters to indie classics of all genres, there is no shortage of options or inclusivity. Bus Stop Films has continued this trend by inviting those with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities to its programs. At these accessible film study workshops, students will learn the ins and outs of filmmaking from industry professionals. The year-long program sees participants develop skills in workplace aptitudes, enhanced literacy, improved communication and social skills, boosted confidence, and the cultivation of friendships. Become the next Martin Scorsese, with a plenitude of filmmaking knowledge waiting to be learned.

Adapted bowling

Adapted bowling is one of the best indoor activities for adults with a disability. For many people living with physical or mental impairments, developing certain skills can be tricky. With organisations such as Tenpin Bowling hosting plenty of adaptive bowling matches, you can improve your cognitive development and motor skills. Focus on accuracy and precision as you bowl down the lane. With ramps, wheelchairs and automated ball returns available, you will be crushing pins with ease. It holds a wealth of physical benefits, but they are perhaps overshadowed by the sheer fun to be had while playing. The team element of bowling with people with similar disabilities will turn even the shyest introvert into a social butterfly. Feel a sense of accomplishment as you hit a strike in front of friends and family, giving you plenty to brag about on your way home. 

Disabled woman in a wheelchair bowling with friends
© AdobeStock

Walking and running clubs

The art of simply moving, no matter the pace or the location, should not be underestimated. Achilles, an international walking organisation for those with disabilities, found that 80 per cent of its members report increases in well-being and self-confidence. Clubs and organisations, such as Achilles, focus on boosting the physical activity of those with disabilities. When joining a walking or running club, the social factor should not be undervalued. You can get to know both volunteers and members, in an inclusive environment where everyone is equal and on the same team. If you prefer to roam in solitude before joining a club, simply try going for a walk or run. Bask in the sounds and smells of nature, and explore your senses with curiosity. This is one of the best, and free, activities for adults with disabilities.