Daniel Barnhart is a 24-year-old with Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy, who enjoys writing and blogging about whatever is on his mind. Daniel is seen as a trailblazer and inspiration to most since he has completed his bachelor’s degree and is in the process of going to graduate school, but this is the idea that he is fighting against. He would like to be seen as an average guy and spoken to as if he were anyone else.
Daniel’s usual physical activity involves driving his motorized wheelchair around and moving his hands, but he hopes to use his body more. He hasn’t been able to partake in a lot of physical activity whether it be because of lack of transportation or even the limitations of his own mind. Daniel admits that he used to have an all or nothing mentality when it came to involvement in wellness activities. “I’ve kind of always been embarrassed about doing handicap adapted sports all my life.” He thought that if he can’t do it the “right” way, then why do it at all? However, he realized over time that it is okay to be differently-abled and do things with modifications. “If something is fun and you’re enjoying it, then why not give it a try?”
Daniel’s number one piece of advice to wellness instructors is to talk to individuals with disabilities like they’d talk to anyone else. This helps to eliminate the polarizing factor between individuals with disabilities and other participants. One of Daniel’s main wishes is that instructors make an effort to become more educated. Whether that be through training or open dialogue with participants, it is important to get to know an individual’s needs rather than assuming.
As for individuals with disabilities and their families who have their doubts about involvement in physical activity, Daniel advises them to get to the root of what might be stopping them.
“They’re getting better, but there’s still work to be done”