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OPINION: Expand opportunities for people with disabilities

Albert Lea Tribune - 5/8/2024

May 7—Nose for News by Sarah Stultz

The weather has warmed up, I'm getting an itch to start gardening and in less than two weeks, Albert Lea students will be out of school for the summer.

Ready or not, summer is here.

The other night I started thinking about some fun things our family can do this summer and some activities that my son, Landon, can get involved in to stay active.

A friend of mine told me about opportunities in Owatonna for adaptive sports. Adaptive sports are recreational sports for people with disabilities.

I went online to look up the adaptive baseball program that my friend was signing her child up for, and to my surprise I was met with a long list of adaptive sports — everything from adaptive disc golf and geocaching to adaptive bowling, fishing, kickball and baseball, plus lots of others in between.

I couldn't believe the opportunities available for children with disabilities.

I signed Landon up for the adaptive baseball, which begins in June and will be at the new Miracle Field in Owatonna, which is next to Owatonna's new inclusive playground.

It got my wheels — and hopes — turning about opportunities to explore in our own community.

While there are a few Special Olympics opportunities available through the Life Center of Freeborn County, I would love to see these opportunities expand through the city Recreation Department or Community Education.

How great it would be to have these activities for these children to take part in — the same recreational opportunities that their able-bodied peers are able to take part in and we all often take for granted.

If anyone has any background in these areas, I'd love to talk further to put some proposals or resources together.

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune.

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