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Ashley Font

LEI 4724 Activities Portfolio Submission #1

Facilitation Technique Category: Adventure Therapy


Activity Title: Paddle your Kayak
Source: Zeller, J. A. (2009). Canoeing and Kayaking for People with Disabilities. American
Canoe Association.
Equipment: Kayaks, Regular paddles, Adapted paddles, Floatation devices, Outfitting kits,
Universal seats, Closed cell foam, Ropes for tugging
Activity Description: Adventure therapy is an active approach utilizing outdoor activities
involving risks and challenging ones physical and emotional abilities. With kayaking, an
individual is able to experience the outdoors while enhancing their mental and physical abilities.
The purpose of this activity is to focus on coordination, balance, demonstrating independence,
and interaction with others as participants are taught basic kayaking strokes. The goal is for
participants to eventually participate in community kayaking independently. Kayaking
emphasizes ability and pushes aside barriers presented by a disability. To begin the activity the
participants will have to meet with a Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist (CTRS) and
volunteers to assess safety, kayak abilities, endurance level, and proper fitting of equipment.
Once the assessment has been done and each participant has been properly fitted, kayaking
safety and water etiquette will be discussed. The instructor will answer any questions if asked.
Participants are asked to pick a partner to utilize the buddy system. The instructor will
demonstrate basic paddling strokes in the water as participants watch at shore. The instructions
are as follows: 1. Grip should be about the width of your shoulders 2. Grip should be a relaxed 3.
Winding your torso either left of right you place the blade past the water as you unwind your
torso for the forward stroke 4. When the paddle then comes out of the water, repeat on the
opposite side 5. When wanting to turn your kayak as you are moving forward, just drop the blade
in the water on one side of the boat, whatever side the blade is placed in, is the direction your
kayak will turn 6. Once you have turned continue your forward stroke 7. To come to a stop, one
must paddle backwards, which is just a reverse of the forward stroke. After the demonstration
has been completed, participants are instructed to utilize the strokes that were demonstrated to
kayak around with their buddy and always within close range of a volunteer or the instructor.
Participants are advised to be more aware of their technique as opposed to arm strength. When
the session has concluded and everyone is out of the water, the benefits and difficulties will be
discussed amongst participants, instructors and volunteers. Suggestions will be made to try and
facilitate kayaking to the participants liking.
Leadership Considerations: CTRS should be an American Canoe Association (ACA) certified
Kayak Instructor. Instructors and volunteers must posses a CPR certification. The therapist
should be aware of participants medical information in case of an emergency. Since kayaking is
performed in a large body of water, the staff to participants ratio should be 1:3. Safety rules and
precautions should be discussed prior to the activity beginning. When demonstrating strokes, the
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Ashley Font

LEI 4724 Activities Portfolio Submission #1

instructor must be willing to demonstrate, as many times until participants have a complete
grasp. While in the water, volunteers and instructors must be aware of their surroundings while
keeping watch of their group. Assistance is always given when needed. If a participant is tired
and wants to exit the water, a volunteer must go with them and distribute their participants
amongst the other volunteers still in the water.
Adaptations:
Participants with Spinal Cord Injury: When a person has a spinal cord injury (SCI), they
become limited to certain activities. With the correct adaptations, people with SCI could
successfully experience kayaking. Loss of function and sensation or paralysis can occur with
SCI. Proper fit and comfort in the kayak is required to avoid any cuts, abrasions, or bruising.
Cushions or proper universal seats are available for increased contact to the boat. A lift from the
dock could assist with placing a person with SCI into the kayak. If a lift is not available,
volunteers and therapist could help transition from the wheelchair to the kayak before settling it
into the water.
Participants with Amputations: People with amputations, whether it is the lower or upper
extremities, can still enjoy kayaking as well. They do experience limitations, but there are ways
to break barriers resulting from their disability. Standard paddles could be easily adapted to those
people with upper extremities amputations. There are voluntary closing mechanisms to grasp the
kayak paddle that have been designed as well as a passive functioning terminal device called the
The Hammerhead Kayak Hand. It mounts on any standard prosthesis and duplicates the wrist
action required for performing the paddling strokes. There are adaptations for persons with lower
extremity amputations as well. Closed cell foam is used to stuff the front of the kayak to secure
the participant with close contact to the boat. Thigh straps are also recommended and allow the
participants to maneuver easily. The universal seating system provides as much support as one
needs in the kayak.
Adaptations References:
American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists. (n.d.). Retrieved September 09, 2016, from
http://www.oandp.org/jpo/library/2007_03_084.asp
Canoeing and Kayaking Aids. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.waramps.ca/pdf/englishsite/ways-we-help/artificial-limbs-and-devices/upper-limb/canoeing-and-kayaking-aids.pdf
Info on Adaptive Paddling. (n.d.). Retrieved from
https://adaptiveadventures.org/Images/programpics/aqua/kayak/Kayaking factsheet.pdf