Family time can be easy and fun for people who have children with either physical disabilities or communication impairment, even adventurous.

David Finn, 22, has a form of muscular dystrophy that makes it difficult for him to speak and requires him to use a wheelchair. However, he and his father John found that golf was a sport they could enjoy together. They spend hours watching golf and going on tours.

“David is an avid golf fanatic,” said Julie Johnston, an occupational therapist at Horizon High School in Livingston. She  and David are featured in an AT Stories Youtube video.

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Last year, the Finns were personally invited to the U.S. Open by Phil Mickelson, a professional golf player. At the event, they were welcomed by everyone and walked all 18 holes by Mickelson and his caddy, Bones (Mackay).

“When they saw us, they said, ‘why don’t you come with us?’” John recalls. “And when we got over there, they said, ‘Why don’t you come inside the ropes, and stay as long as you want?’ So we went all 18! We’re going to watch a lot more golf.”

The U.S. Open was just one of many family gatherings for the Finns. Golf just might be the relaxing sport for people who have children with disabilities.

Some people may be wondering, how is it possible for the Finns to enjoy golf together, especially with David’s disabilities. With the help of assistive technology, David can talk to people easier.

At first, he was using a paper alphabet board that was not very effective. So he tried a variety of stylus to help him activate his new wheelchair screen. The T-Bar stylus seemed to be the best fit for him and his device. Now, he is more capable of doing things he could not before, like changing the channel on his television.

“Don’t give up when it doesn’t work at first!” said David.

In an article written by the Center on Human Policy Research Project Director Pam Walker, Ph.D., and a former researcher, Bonnie Shoultz, playing sports is said to be “another important” experience for all children. Youth with disabilities “need” opportunities to enjoy both competitive and entertaining events.

“Recreation and leisure activities allow people to have fun, relax and meet others who share similar interests and may become friends,” said Shoultz. “Too often, children with disabilities do not get to participate.”

To learn more about David’s story, visit Assistive Technology Center AT Stories Youtube playlist HERE or email ogany.m@gmail.com.

About Advancing Opportunities

A leader in the disability services field, Advancing Opportunities has been providing person-centered, community-based services to people with all types of disabilities and their families since 1950. The agency provides assistive technology services, integrated recreational programs, family support services,advocacy, residential services, respite   care, substance abuse prevention programs, and community education and transition services all throughout the state. For more information about Advancing Opportunities, visit www.advopps.org or call 1-888-322-1918.