Winning Wheels Adventures In Therapy

Outrigger Canoeing
. . . leaving wheelchairs on the dock

The Winning Wheels Outrigger Canoe program is yet another expansion of the recreational opportunities for our residents. The program emphasizes the residents' abilities rather than limitations, promotes cooperation, builds confidence, and increases independence. Canoeing also presents a unique way for residents to work on improving balance, gross motor coordination, endurance, strength, range of motion, as well as enhancing socialization with teamwork, patience, communication and respect for others.

Winning Wheels' "Aumakua Spirit" (a Hawaiian name which translates to "ancestral spirit guides accompanying one on a journey") is essentially two separate canoes joined by stabilizing bars. The outrigger is 30 feet long, weighs nearly 400 pounds, and seats nine people.

Adaptive Video Games
. . . get your game on!

The resident computer lab at Winning Wheels is equipped with a variety of adaptive equipment, including a Nintendo Wii. Unlike traditional hand-held video games, where users sit on the couch exercising little more than their thumbs, the Wii features digital sensors that let users virtually play the game. In Wii Sports, a game that comes with the console, users mimic the motions used in sports like bowling, tennis and baseball. In other words, the game may be virtual, but the physical exertion is very real.

The Winning Wheels Recreational Therapy Program utilizes this type of adaptive video game technology to promote physical and occupational therapy. There's also a psychological impact that may speed up the recovery process. Participants are able to interact and participate in activities they thought they were no longer capable of enjoying.

Duet Cycling
. . . take to the open road

Winning Wheels residents can enjoy the outdoors on a specially-adapted "Duet" bicycle. Residents and staff both enjoy this one-on-one time together and the opportunity to get out on the town!

The bicycle is a colorfully designed wheelchair tandem that combines the latest in cycle technology with advanced wheelchair design. It provides a unique recreational opportunity for residents to enjoy the great outdoors like never before.

Power Soccer
. . . goal!

Power soccer is a very popular activity of the Winning Wheels Day Treatment Program. Winning Wheels and S.T.R.I.V.E. residents form 2 teams, the "Lyndon Chamnps" and the "Prophetstown All Stars", and compete in a friendly rivalry at the Lyndon Progress Center gymnasium, complete with cheerleaders and enthusiastic fans.

Power soccer is the first competitive team sport designed and developed specifically for power wheelchair users. The game is played in a gymnasium on a regular basketball court. Two teams of 4 power chair users attack, defend, and maneuver an oversized soccer ball in an attempt to score points on a goal.

Power soccer can increase cardiovascular endurance and upper body strength and provide improved mobility skills. Not to mention the satisfaction of bragging rights that go along with a well-earned win!

Therapeutic Horseback Riding
. . . giddyup!

Winning Wheels offers residents the opportuntity to enjoy therapeutic horseback riding and animal-assisted activities. Residents receive basic instruction in grooming, tacking, horsemanship, riding and/or driving skills. Classes include mounted exercise, games, trail riding, and much more.

Therapeutic horseback riding provides recreational, educational, therapeutic, and social opportunities for persons with disabilities. These activities improve physical capabilities and functional skills as well as furnish students the opportunity of added leisure time, physical activity and social interaction.

. . . creativity at work

Winning Wheels has established a fine arts woodshop in the Therapy Annex. Numerous residents are kept busy sanding, staining, painting and building birdhouses, feeders, and picture frames. They are also refinishing furniture and wood doors. The Winning Wheels Woodshop offers residents the opportunity to work and be creative.

Several items have been sold at silent auction and a few tools have been donated, enabling the woodshop to run on a limited budget.