Community Involvement

If SUCCESS is defined as making the difference in the life of a child, then the Children’s Hospital Equipment for Adaptive Recreation (CHEAR) Program has far surpassed success and continues to provide a much needed service to children and families needing creative options for adaptive recreation, participation and inclusion in life. The concept and community need for this program is to provide clinical expertise, access and funding of adaptive recreational equipment to children and their families with special health care needs. Often times, children with disabilities are unable to participate in community based recreational activities such as sports, music, art, social clubs and peer groups because of their disability. The Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Services Department at Boston Children’s Hospital has identified children who need options to maximize independent function and creative adaptation to partake in sport or activity. We were able to match the abilities of children motivated or interested in movement or participation in adaptive recreation with access to adaptive equipment to enhance mobility and participation.

2017 was a GREAT year and we were able to provide Adaptive Tricycles to children identified by Boston Children’s Hospital therapists and physicians as needing adaptive recreational options to participate with friends and family members. The year the CHEAR Program also donated an adaptive bike to a local rehabilitation hospital to support their summer time adaptive bike program and special needs school. This resulted in a family reaching out from that community for assistance in acquiring an adaptive tricycle for Christmas. This was a touching moment as the family wanted to get their son a two wheeled bike but felt it unfair for only one child to get a bike. With increased efforts by mom and a team of support, Christmas wishes came true for Juliet and her family.

The CHEAR Program at Boston Children’s Hospital will continue to partner with local adaptive recreation programs to assist children and their families in obtaining adaptive recreational equipment not otherwise available to them through the programs themselves, medical insurance funding or independent financial means. Children may continue to be referred by parents, schools, physicians, and local therapists. Ongoing financial support allows us to continue these efforts and helps us discover new ways to create adaptive recreation for children with special needs.

In 2018, some of our new endeavors will include:

  • Helping a child who uses a wheelchair for mobility to access his grandparent’s farm using mountain bike style tires on a rugged wheelchair.
  • Delivering a custom built strider bike to a child with a form of dwarfism and needing a very small seat height to participate with friends.
  • Engaging with the SimPEDS Program at Boston Children’s Hospital to create adaptive equipment using a 3D scanning technology and 3D printing technology
  • Collaborating with an orthotic fabricator and funding a goalie hockey glove for a child with decreased use of his arm to allow for success on the ice.