Synonyms for the word 'cage' include to confine, enclose, coop up, shut in, and impound. This doesn't sound all too appealing, right? Just the opposite is true when talking about The CAGE in Edmonton, Alberta. The CAGE is a program for children and youth with disabilities out of the University of Alberta with its goal being "to provide opportunities for children and youth to participate in physical activity and fitness programs [and] to develop skills and knowledge towards health and wellness while asserting autonomy and independence in a fun and social environment."
What is The CAGE?
The Centre for Adapted Group and Individual Exercise is a component of The Steadward Centre for Personal and Physical Achievement that is designed for children and youth between 4 and 19 years of age. Currently, The CAGE serves more than 200 children and youth (and their families) with a range of disabilities including autism, developmental coordination disorder, cerebral palsy, as well as those with physical, sensory, and developmental disabilities.
Why is The CAGE important?
Exercise for all children is extremely important; however, children with physical disabilities who have limited mobility and/or use a wheelchair have a greater challenge in getting their recommended amount of daily exercise and are more likely to develop secondary health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis. These secondary conditions can be eliminated or prevented by exercising on a regular basis. The CAGE offers children with disabilities the opportunity to participate in programs and activities to help combat these secondary conditions that could arise from being sedentary, and they do so in a fun and friendly environment.
What does The CAGE provide?
Children and youth involved in The CAGE are offered many different programs and activities, with the ultimate goal being to "develop health and wellness while asserting [the children and youth's] independence in a fun and social environment." (http://www.steadwardcentre.ualberta.ca/index.cfm). Programs include Skate Challenge, which is for kids between 7 and 12 years of age, where they incline skate and learn basic hockey skills. There is also a Cycle Challenge for ages 6 and older in which the participants learn how to ride a bike. Other examples of activities are Teen Night (ages 12+), Sport Sampler (ages 7-12), and Little Activations (ages 4-6). With a wide variety of activities to choose from, the kids can pick something that interests them.
On a more individual level, The CAGE also offers motor skill instruction, exercise programs, one-on-one motor skill development, athlete development, and team training.
With such services, one might think becoming involved with The CAGE would be difficult, but it is just the opposite. Registering for The CAGE is simple, because it is a community-based program and referrals are not necessary. Also, to make sure the child registers for the proper program, free tours are provided for the child and his or her parents.
How can I contact The CAGE?
For more information about The CAGE, please visit its website at http://www.steadwardcentre.ualberta.ca/index.cfm.