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For adults with disabilities, especially those with intellectual disabilities, exercising and developing certain types of skills can be challenging. 

Essential skills such as communication, interpersonal skills, social skills and self-care are necessary for getting through daily life. When a person has an intellectual disability, their condition may limit how effectively they can learn these skills.

For adults with disabilities, both physical and intellectual, cognitive stimulation is very important for not just learning new skills, but keeping the skills they’ve already acquired sharp.

Fortunately, cognitive stimulation can be achieved by letting the person under your care partake in several cognitive activities for people with disabilities. Here are six of these activities you could encourage the person under your care to try.

  • Games

Games are a fun and engaging way for adults with disabilities to flex their cognitive skills. Playing games can help them learn how to strategise, work together in a team and solve complex problems.

Here are a few games you could play with the person under your care:

Puzzles

Puzzles are great for simulating a person’s problem-solving skills, and depending on the size of the puzzle, the person under your care can enjoy hours of putting it together. 

If the person under your care has an intellectual disability, find them simple, easy-to-solve puzzles they could work on independently unless they ask for more challenging puzzles.

Charades

This may be an everyday party activity, but it can help with cognitive development too. Acting something out can be good for developing story-telling skills, and this activity can be enjoyed by both adults and children alike.

Word games

Word games such as Scrabble are an excellent way for the person under your care to learn new words, but they can also help them develop their comprehension skills. 

Another simple game you can try is choosing a word and then find other words that are related to it. For example, the word you pick is “ocean”, and the person under your care will then pick a related word, like “fish” or “waves”.

Some of these games can be played alone, but to make them more enriching, it’s encouraged that you play these games together with the person under your care. Make sure to take at least an hour of your time every day for these activities.

Trivia

Trivia can be an interesting activity for older individuals with disabilities.

For instance, presenting them with questions that focus on history will encourage them to think back on pieces of knowledge from the past they were familiar with. Try to make questions based on events from decades ago, or television shows that were popular in their time.

These knowledge questions may help older adults with disabilities such as dementia recall certain things from their past.

  • Nature walks

As the name suggests, this activity involves going for walks out in natural surroundings, like parks, seashores, and hiking trails.

Nature walks are a very calming and relaxing cognitive activity for adults with disabilities and their caregivers. 

Since many individuals with disabilities, especially those with physical impairments, may not always get the opportunity to leave their homes and explore the outdoors, nature walks can be an enriching experience.

That being said, if the person under your care has a physical disability that impairs movement, make sure that their mobility devices, such as are properly equipped to handle the terrain of the place you visit.

  • Drawing

Art is an excellent way for a person to express themselves. The person under your care may find drawing an excellent way to communicate their feelings in ways that they can’t with words and also flex their creativity.

Drawing can help with memory and perception, making this a good activity for older adults with disabilities such as memory loss. 

  • Amusement park visits

Amusement parks are fun and exciting for people of all ages. Going to an amusement park will allow the person under your care to experience some thrill and excitement.

Not all rides at amusement parks may be suitable for people with disabilities, so make sure to check if the park you’re visiting has disability-accessible rides. In addition, amusement parks may have other attractions apart from rides, like game stalls for you to try instead.

Also, let the person under your care choose what attractions they want to try, but avoid letting them on rides you feel won’t be suitable for them.

  • Exploring the town

Going about your home town can also be a very fun experience for the person under your care, and they can learn a lot from it.

Take the person under your care for a small tour around the town, showing them important places, like medical centres and educational institutes. These tours can help teach them how to navigate through town on their own if need be.

To make this activity more fun, try creating a checklist of landmarks the person under your can mark down as they explore the town. Town exploration may be more fun in a group, you seek out disability service providers that offer group activities like this for their clients.

If the person under your care feels uncomfortable around crowds, try to visit open areas in town where not many people gather around in close proximity. Avoid cramped and crowded places, like train stations and some shopping malls.

Also, check if the places you visit are wheelchair accessible if the person under your care uses one.

  • Bowling 

Bowling is a fun activity for both you and the person under your care to enjoy.  It’s a good activity that can help a person exercise their aim and ability to judge distances.

Some individuals with physical disabilities may find it difficult to bowl by themselves, so help them play. Be mindful of the bowling balls as they can be very heavy; only let the person under your care use the lightest bowling balls.

Learn about more cognitive activities for adults with disabilities from disability service providers

Disability service providers focus on enriching the lives of people with disabilities, and they offer all kinds of services, such as peer support, group activities and outings, and NDIS support coordinators.

If you want to learn about more activities that the person under your care will enjoy, speak to your nearest disability service provider today.

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