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Additional resources for Canoeing and kayaking for people with disabilities

Sample text

Weather and water conditions greatly affect the way paddlers prepare for the activity. Selecting Clothing Two essential characteristics for paddling clothing are protection and comfort. The clothing needs to repel wind and water and to insulate for appropriate body heat retention. Because many disabilities impair circulation, the effects of cold and heat are an increased concern. The greater the chance of immersion and the more severe the paddling conditions, the more protection is needed. Participants should wear proper clothing to prevent hypothermia (a lowering of the body’s core temperature that eventually can cause unconsciousness and death) and hyperthermia (a rise of the body’s core temperature to unsafe levels).

This decision should be based on the paddler’s ability to control the craft and maintain the proper paddling posture throughout the experience. If a significant mobility impairment limits the lateral stability needed for safe solo paddling, then the person should begin in the bow seat of a tandem craft. This is a logical and safe entry point to the sport and does not preclude the person from paddling in another position at a later point. There should be no stigma to paddling in a tandem craft; it is a great, social way to enjoy a local lake or river and is commonly used on expedition-style trips that require a lot of gear.

Nevertheless, you are reading this book because you want to appropriately integrate paddlers who have a disability into the sport. To that end, make use of the tools this book gives you and incorporate the information into your planning. Have all students fill out the medical information sheet (MIS) in appendix B, and complete a detailed paddler’s interview with each person (see appendix C). Use chapter 6, Disabilities and Their Implications for Paddling and Instruction, to learn about specific disabilities, and let the teaching suggestions guide you in developing a positive experience for your participants.

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