The Adaptive Kayaking Consultation: A Critical First Step
This is the second in a seven part blog series describing the Juballa family's experience in getting a fully adapted kayak for their young adult son, Raymond. Go to the end of this post to see other articles in the series.
Conducting a thorough evaluation of a person's abilities, needs and goals is arguably the most important step in adapting a kayak to meet the requirements of that specific paddler. It’s usually done in the form of a one-on-one consultation between the paddler and one or more trained adaptive kayaking professionals.
This initial consultation covers a lot of territory, and not just anyone is equipped to do it. For instance, just because someone has a Level 5 kayak certification doesn’t mean they understand the differences in adaptations needed for a paddler who has tendonitis verses one who has paralysis from a stroke or who has a spinal cord injury.
Or, even though someone is a professional recreational therapist doesn’t mean they know the ins and outs of kayak safety.
Here's an example of a typical oversight: someone may recommend a mounted, straight paddle to a paddler who is paralyzed on one side and has only limited mobility on the other side. The set-up may allow the paddler to kayak using only the arm that has partial function. Problem solved, right? Not necessarily.