Physical Activity, Trips, Events

What you need to know

A child with CF can safely participate in many physical activities, school sponsored events, and field trips when the right supports and services are provided.

Physical Education/Activity:

  • Exercise, is particularly good because it strengthens the lungs and helps clear mucus
    • Consider involvement in games, activities, organized sports, and other physical activities
    • Children with CF may not have as much stamina as children without CF.
    • Children with CF lose much more salt when they sweat than children without CF. They also are more at risk for dehydration.
      • A child with CF should be encouraged to drink fluids directly before, during and after exercise (PE, playground, etc.) and when it is hot indoors or outside.
      • They need to replace salt by eating high-salt foods like pretzels or potato chips or by taking salt tablets.
      • It may be difficult for children with CF to regulate their body temperature during when it is very hot or cold.
        • Make alternative arrangements for recess or physical education, whether outdoors or indoors (e.g., very hot gym) as needed.
  • If you live in New England (USA) and qualify, Northeast Passage offers Therapeutic Recreation and Adaptive Sports programming.

Field Trips & School Sponsored Events:

  • For many children with CF, joining field trips and sponsored school events requires planning and back up planning. For example, making sure the child has extra digestive enzymes, food, and drink available is critical. Plan ahead!
    • Running out of enzymes hours away from school on a trip could pose a significant problem
    • Ensure a drink is handy to help swallow the enzymes
    • Under the IDEA and Section 504, if a child with CF needs accommodations or support services to be part of a school program or event, they must be provided by the school district.

What you can do

  • Understand the need for support or accommodations for physical activity, trips, and school-sponsored events.
  • Whether through an IEP, Section 504 Plan and/or emergency plan, work with the team to ensure the right interventions and accommodations. This will allow the child to safely and successfully join physical activities, trips, and events.
    • Plan ahead. Have extra food, drinks, medications, etc. on hand.
  • Ensure that everyone who comes in contact with the child (including bus drivers, cafeteria staff and monitors, substitute teachers, faculty and administrators, coaches, specialists, etc.) understands and supports his/her accommodations.