Maine LEND Family Games and Sports are Hot on a Cold Day

February 15, 2023

It was below zero on Saturday, Feb. 4, but no one was cold at the University of New England in Portland, Maine where 59 people played games, engaged in creative crafts, and fully participated in new sports activities as part of the Maine Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Family Game and Sports Day! The events were planned as part of the LEND program to promote family-centered inclusion in the community for people with disabilities. 

Cassandra Susi (Maine LEND Trainee, 2023) planned and implemented the adaptive sports program as her LEND elective while recruiting 8 of her physical therapy student colleagues to support participants. Sports activities included pickleball, soccer, and basketball.  Andrew Wissler (Maine LEND, Self-advocate, 2023) organized a self-advocate meeting just prior to the event to encourage young adults to attend and he facilitated organization of the activities. Games included Giant Jenga, Cornhole, Guess Who, Twister, and Parachute play while the Craft Table designed adaptive Valentine Cards, snap bracelets, puff paint art, and paint by stickers. Healthy snacks and drinks nourished the participants as part of the program. 

The Maine LEND Interprofessional Trainees are each paired with a family in the community to learn about the joys and challenges of life with a child who has neurodevelopmental disabilities.  The Family Game and Sports Day is an annual event designed to support families in the community to have fun, happy, and healthy times together.  The event was attended by 18 families including 19 children, 8 physical therapy students, 10 LEND Trainees, and 4 Faculty.