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  • Writer's picturePadraig Danaher

This is John, he is 15 has been diagnosed with general anxiety disorder and depression.

Updated: Dec 27, 2022

John has anxiety and finds it hard to find joy in everyday life. When exploring activities, John chose getting on the water and trying Stand up Paddle Boarding (SUP). This kept these sessions child-led, engaging in a goal that was meaningful to him and in turn supporting his developmental needs.

These sessions were occupational focused and while developing much of his physical needs, we worked on areas such as confidence, anxiety reduction, and creating a strong sense of resilience. SUP offers opportunity to build core strength in a really fun way. SUP is a dynamic activity that is highly effective for training and building up your core muscles. This activity will improve balance as John is required to make constant postural adjustments as he moves through the water.

John will use bilateral coordination skills when using the paddle while also activating his sensory systems. Before John even gets on the board his proprioceptive and tactile systems are activated as you can see him feeling the stones under his feet and using his upper body and core muscles to pump up the board (which is not easy!), while also problem solving to get the fins on and the board in the water.

Padraig supported John to find activities that bring a sense of joy and meaning in his life. Setting a short-term goal or two – something achievable that would provide a sense of hope, progress and success. Using this outdoor activity to explore and practice healthy coping strategies and skills such as grounding and breathing exercises or assertive communication.

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