People with disabilities are often more susceptible to changes in body temperature and the effect of different weather conditions. Participants with physical disabilities are usually less mobile than other participants and their body metabolism responds differently to changing conditions.
Some participants are more active due to involuntary movement.
Ensure suitable clothing that will enable participants to add to or reduce body covering, is worn. Variable conditions may require a constant taking off and putting on of a jumper. Windy conditions will have a greater effect on someone who is less mobile than someone who is able to move freely to keep warm.
Although most of us can readily adjust to the wetness of a light rain shower, a participant who has limited mobility can be very uncomfortable with moist hair and clothing. It is important to be sensitive to the comfort level of participants under these different conditions. Exposure to direct sunlight and wind can cause sunburn to all participants.
The ‘slip, slop, slap, seek, slide’ approach should be observed, providing adequate skin coverage with clothing, hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. Any summer outdoor activities need to be held in the shade, between 10.00am – 4.00pm.A participant in a wheelchair with limited communication skills may not be able to alert the leader to their discomfort, therefore regular monitoring of participants is particularly important in extreme weather conditions.
Due to the medication some participants take, they are more susceptible to sunburn and need added protection.