Miller Children’s Pediatric Patients Enjoy a Sailing Adventure

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Miller Children’s pediatric rehabilitation patient, Noah, 8, sits at the helm  and prepares himself for his voyage through the Long Beach Harbor.

Miller Children’s pediatric rehabilitation patient, Noah, 8, sits at the helm
and prepares himself for his voyage through the Long Beach Harbor.

On Friday, June 27, Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach pediatric rehabilitation patients with special needs, such as spina bifida, brain injuries, neuromuscular disorders and other conditions set sail for an afternoon of ocean adventure.

To begin their nautical journey, patients and their family members from Miller Children’s gathered at the U.S. Sailing Center in Long Beach where they met with their skippers to go over the details of their trip and prepare them for their experience. The crew of volunteer skippers took three sailboats on a relaxing and educational two hour cruise through the inner Long Beach harbor area passing by nearby oil rigs, the iconic Queen Mary and the nearby keelboat regatta.

While at sea, the skippers taught patients the basics of sailing, such as naming equipment, the uses of each boat part and the difference between certain types of boats. Patients were also given the opportunity to take the controls for themselves and navigate through the water by adjusting the sails and handling the rudder.

These sailing trips were made possible through a joint effort from the U.S. Sailing Center and the pediatric rehabilitation program at Miller Children’s. As part of the pediatric rehabilitation program’s summer event series — experiences such as sailing, flying, scuba diving and horseback riding — encourage these patients to seek out new activities and give them something to look forward to while they are receiving regular therapy throughout the summer months. In addition to the memorable experience, the excursions remind patients and their caretakers that it is important to let patients have their own independence.

“These summer activities are not only here to help these children improve their abilities, but they also are a fun and active way to help break up the monotony of regular therapy sessions,” says Mariana de Sena, C.T.R.S., recreational therapist, Miller Children’s. “This is our 12th year of providing this experience to our patients and I can tell you from experience that excursions like this go a long way toward boosting a patient’s confidence and giving them the will to become more independent.”

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