Changing expectations

When you become a parent you never dream of your child having a disability. Once the reality sets in and you can come to accept it, you do everything in your power to help your child live a healthy and normal childhood. We can’t always attend busy events at the local multiplex, go out to a loud restaurant, or sometimes even attend a birthday party. We do these outings occasionally, however proper planning is a large part of our attendance in some of these “high risk situations.”

Hiking as Therapy by Momma Luvz for Hike it Baby (image of a mom with her daughter walking along a snow covered path)What is normally a chance to explore, be silly, laugh, and socialize with your peers, becomes overwhelming when you have a global developmental delay.

There is one place however that I don’t have to worry about my almost six year old daughter. I don’t need to plan, I don’t have to watch her voice level, I don’t need to bite my nails and be nervous about what might set her off.

Outside, in Nature

Hiking as Therapy by Momma Luvz for Hike it BabyNature is my daughter’s best friend. A place where she can be herself and not feel overwhelmed. A place where we can explore together, it truly is our best form of therapy we can experience as a family. Being vocal about the animals we see or hear, discussing the rocks and leaves we find, talking about the trail we are on or the bridge we are about to cross over is our Speech Therapy. Hiking up a high hill, swimming in the cool lake, jumping over that big mud puddle is our Physiotherapy. As we use our pincher grasp to pick up those tiny stones on the ground and feel the different textures and hear the sounds they make once we drop them into jars to carry home this becomes our Occupational Therapy and Sensory exploration.

Growing up as a child in a small remote town in the Yukon Territories of Canada I spent lot of time in the outdoors exploring and know the value of nature. As a parent I can’t predict the future but I also can’t shelter my girls from reality.

My hopes are that my children know they are loved, and that I will always be there to hold their hand if they need me. I know my daughter will continue to make great gains, but one thing I always know for sure is nature will always be our therapy.

I’m Teresa Donnessey and I’m the blogger behind the Momma Luvz Blog. I am a Babywearing Educator in Northern Alberta, Canada. I am originally from the Yukon Territories and was raised being outside and in nature hiking, fishing, snowmobiling, skiing, and more. I now have two daughters ages 17 months and 5 years and I enjoy taking them on outdoor adventures. It might be a walk to explore in the forest, or hiking to a waterfall in BC, but we love being outdoors. Follow Me: Facebook | Blog | Instagram

One thought on “Hiking as Therapy

  • Laura
    Laura Castro

    Thank you for sharing your story! My 6 year old son has motor delays, developmental delays, and hiking has been great therapy. He’s talking with kids his same vocal age, moving at a speed everyone else is, and he’s making friends first time he meets someone!


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