What benefits are there in recreational activities for children with learning disabilities?

The benefits from physical and other kinds of recreational activity are universal for all children, especially those with learning disabilities. Stimulating children outside of the educational environment is a good way to use up free time and energy on activities they enjoy, reducing stress. There are a myriad of recreational activities including arts, music, sports, movement and dance. They stimulate both the mind and the body, getting rid of excess energy and giving an outlet to imagination.

Being involved in recreation is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and is important to a child’s sense of value and identity. Involvement in recreational activity such as sports particularly promote feelings of inclusion, optimises physical function and increases overall wellbeing. Regular physical activity can ward off life-threatening diseases, reduce feelings of depression and anxiety, help control weight and obesity, and build and maintain healthy body and mind. Clinical studies also show that sports and recreation programs are a great outlet for children to express their feelings and learn to evaluate their surroundings from different perspectives and help overcome the stereotypical ways of seeing things around them.

Dr Temple Gradin says, “We are focusing so much on academics that we have taken out things like art, music dance, cooking and other things that might introduce kids to hobbies if not careers. Children need to be exposed to different things to develop- a child is not going to find out he likes to play a musical instrument if they’ve never been exposed to it. We are all born with great potential. Shouldn’t every child have a chance to achieve it? Try everything with your child and you will find skills and talents unique to them”.

With thanks to Tender Hearts Arena, Recreational services for kids with special abilities. Call 04-3213138 or visit www.tenderhearts.ae.

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