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Local summer camp giving kids with special needs a place of their own!

by: Bob Dumas Updated:

BOSTON - Every kid should get a chance to play sports, according to the philosophy of an Adaptive Sports Camp at Franciscan Children’s in Brighton.

The program runs for a three-week stretch in August, and it pairs children with special needs with individual coaches and gets them involved in soccer, bike riding, baseball, and other physical activities often considered beyond their reach.

Physical Therapist Maria Fragala-Pinkham has spearheaded the efforts to make this camp an annual event.

“For some kinds with special needs, they need extra support and they can’t go to a regular summer camp," she said.

Danzel Diaz, 14, is visually impaired, but that doesn’t stop him from learning how to dribble a soccer ball.

Some of the balls are equipped with bells so the players can follow the sounds as they roll.

Diaz said he is happy there is so much for him to do there.

“What we do differently is we just adapt the activities for the kids, so whatever their needs are, we use whatever we can for their abilities,” Fragala-Pinkham explained.

Massimo Reveliotty, 11, has attended the camp for several years and really likes to ride the modified bikes.

He was born prematurely and the camp has strengthened him physically while increasing his confidence, according to his mother, Angela Carosella. 

“It’s really a special camp because most of these kids, including my child, they couldn’t participate in a typical camp. This is our only option for the summer," she said.

While Fragala-Pinkham says working on balance, strength training, and balance are the primary focus of the camp, the social component is also very important. 

“It’s not just their accomplishment of their physical skills, but they’re really enjoying being here, being with the other kids and having fun with each other," Fragala-Pinkham said.

One of the most astounding things about the camp is the cost. 

A weekly session ranges from $35-$50. 

It’s kept that low thru a number of grants the hospital has been able to secure. 

Up next is an adaptive ice skating program later this year.

For more information, click here.