Fit Kids, a weekly exercise session for children with physical difficulties, is extending its reach to include children with more complex needs.
Practising curling with a Fit Kids member are coordinator Nicola Evans (right) and physiotherapist Claire Land (centre)
Fit Kids was set up by Melanie Arazi, a specialist paediatric community physiotherapist working in partnership with Lambeth Council’s inclusive sport coordinator, Nicola Evans.
It is provided in south London by Evelina London Children’s Healthcare community physiotherapy service, part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust.
For the past two years Ms Arazi has been coordinating the Fit Kids after school group at the Mary Sheridan Centre for children and young people in Lambeth.
‘The children are all mobile with a variety of movement disorders, mostly mild cerebral palsy,’ she said. ‘But from this month we are opening up the group to less mobile and non-mobile children. For example, we have a little boy with dystonic cerebral palsy who will be coming to the group.’
The aim, she said, is to give a wider range of children opportunities to take part in inclusive sport to promote on-going exercise, so they can self-manage their condition and socialise with peers.
Ms Arazi said up to 10 children aged from seven to 11 attend the classes weekly for an hour after school.
‘The best thing about this initiative is seeing the potential that the children have,’ said Ms Arazi.
‘It has opened our eyes to how much these children can do. They are quite fearless and daring and it gives them the opportunity to expand their skills.
‘Some of them have surprised us with how much we can challenge them – in terms of balance, coordination and what they can achieve.’
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