San José, Costa Rica. Agosto, 2016.
In the same way as many other people, surely you know about the multiple benefits that physical exercise and sports contribute to our lives. But, what would happen if you were not allowed to participate in the numerous options to carry out physical activities?
That is how JADE (Autonomous Youths Challenging Their Environment) was born. This is an initiative within the Social Action Program of the Clinica Biblica Hospital, which seeks to open opportunities for the adult population with intellectual or cognitive disabilities so that they might fully enjoy their lives.
Unfortunately, in our society, many times the adult population with some kind of disability is excluded from this type of activities, which has been reflected in reports from experts where they submit alarming numbers of sedentarism and preventable chronic diseases derived from the lack of physical activity.
The stereotypes, myths and fears around disabilities end up in excluding people with cognitive limitations from the offer of spaces for the practice of exercise and sports. In addition, overprotection and infantilization from their immediate environments end up undermining the self-esteem of the adults with intellectual disability, making them feel that they cannot perform this type of activities.
Within the different spaces that the Social Action Program of the Clinica Biblica Hospital has created to favor the comprehensive development of the people in conditions of socio-economic vulnerability who request health services, the JADE project meets weekly with people over 21 years-old with cognitive disability diagnosis and scarce social participation, with the purpose of offering them tools for the full enjoyment of their current adult stage, through a year-long participative workshop.
Among the objectives of the JADE project are the improvement of self-esteem, social participation, and the acquisition of healthy life styles including physical activity. For this reason, during the past month of May, the 2015 workshop participants joined the members who assist the 2016 group with the purpose of participating in a rally called “Soy, quiero y puedo” (“I am, wish and can”), which through different activities allowed them to show themselves and their parents their abilities and capabilities.
For the participants, the team work, the stimulus from the competitivity, and the eagerness to overcome individual challenges, were key elements to advance from one station to the other and reach the end of the rally. Some of the challenges, like a small obstacle area that included crossing over truck tires, demanded they leave their comfort zone and carry out tasks that they would not have undertaken at another time.
Some results of this rally are the hard evidence that the barriers to be broken down by the adult population with disabilities are above all assumptions we assume as true and unique.
In order to obtain further information or request an appointment in any of the medical specialties, please contact the private hospital Clínica Bíblica at telephone number 2522-1000, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via chat at the website clinicabiblica.com.