Pediatricians are asked to prescribe physical activity for children with disabilities

New guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics say pediatricians “should not hesitate to promote physical activity” for children with disabilities. (Janet Jensen / Tacoma News Tribune / TNS)

Paediatricians should encourage children with disabilities to participate in sports, recreation and other physical activities, according to new guidelines.

The American Academy of Pediatrics tells its members to encourage children with disabilities to participate in activities that suit their tastes and abilities.

In one clinical report published in the journal Pediatrics this month, the professional association of pediatricians said doctors should move away from conservative approaches focused on child disability. Instead, doctors should work with families to find ways to include children.

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“We know that movement and activity offer so many benefits, but sometimes – perhaps through too much caution – we overlook the options available to our children with medical conditions or disabilities,” said Dr Paul S Carbone, lead author of the clinical study. report. “As pediatricians, we can create ‘physical activity prescriptions’ for children with disabilities and offer practical suggestions for identifying what would work best for each child in their community. Participating in a sport or recreational activity gives children a sense of accomplishment and a chance to improve not only physical health, but also skill levels, creativity, friendships and quality of life.

The guide recognizes that several barriers, including functional limitations, negative self-perceptions and accessibility, can play a role.

The pediatrics group advises doctors to assess children’s abilities, discuss goals with families and develop a prescription for physical activity. Parents should be encouraged to include children with disabilities in recreational activities and pediatricians can work with schools and other community organizations to promote inclusion, the clinical report says.

“Paediatricians can help families and children balance the benefits of participation with the potential risks,” said Dr. Claire LeBlanc, author of the report. “It’s no longer acceptable to play it safe or to assume that disabled children can’t do that. We want all children to experience the challenges and joys of participating in some form of recreation.

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