The information provided on each sport is based on direct personal experience. As every child with cerebral palsy is different, your child’s experience and success in a particular sport may vary. However, the following should provide useful insights on how to proceed and what to expect.

I was really surprised to learn that children with hemiplegia can skate, and rather successfully.   These children continue to amaze me with their abilities to adapt.  Read on for information about skating, shared by parents who’ve been there.

Child on sledI recommend getting all of the hockey equipment and getting into hockey to learn to skate. First of all, all of the protective equipment makes it far less painful and not at all dangerous. Second of all, when the child is first learning, having that hockey stick to lean on is a real advantage. And third, if they are playing a game, they’ll be worried less about the skating because they just want to get the puck and SCORE. — from Hockey mom Cindy going a little bit over the edge here!

I’m going to put Anna in hockey skates, but not with her orthotics. Anna’s orthotics are only just past her ankles anyway, and I think a good pair of hockey skates will give her the right kind of support. But we have so many hand-me-down hockey skates that if that doesn’t work, I can easily move up to a bigger size and use the orthotics.

The very small sizes of hockey skates have excellent ankle support. See if you can rent hockey skates at your rink first, though, as a good pair of skates should cost at least $50. You might also try eBay for used skates. Look for good brands — CCM or Bauer are the only brands I would buy. One way to find out what size you would need in each brand is to go to a sporting goods store and just try on the skates there, but not buy. If you can’t find a store that carries hockey equipment, most indoor rinks (at least around here) have Pro Shops that carry hockey equipment. Your child probably should be in skates a size smaller than his shoe size, that is the shoe size he would wear if he didn’t have orthotics.

My oldest son was 4 when he started skating.  Lots of tiny kids are out on the rink, but you probably don’t want to get into a hockey program until about 5.  If you start early, all of the kids are wobbly and wiping out and such, so your child will just fit in with the others. I’m not saying it won’t be hard for him, but if he really wants to skate it isn’t impossible, it just takes a little more work for our kids. — from Cindy

My daughter, Corbyn (10 3/4 yo) loves skating. We tried skating with and without her brace. Without her brace, Corbyn’s ankle tends to turn over and it’s very difficult for her to keep the foot upright. So, she skated with a PVC “walker” the first few times. Last time we went skating, I decided to have Corbyn try it with the brace. We had to use boys hockey skates (they are wider than figure skates) and go one size larger than the other skate in
order for the brace to fit. Luckily, my good friend is a physical therapist and she happened to be with us! So, she helped Corbyn get used to it at first. After only one time around the rink with assistance, Corbyn was skating independently for the first time ever!!! We were sooooooo proud of her! She had such a great time and was so confident that she can’t wait to go back! — from Karyn