Canoeing and Kayaking for People With Disabilities by Janet A. Zeller, American Canoe Association & Human Kinetics, Illinois: 2009. 139 pages. $26.17 Reviewed by John G Hall
Author Janet A. Zeller firmly believes that canoeing and kayaking are activities that emphasize ability. Skill is determined by ability and attitude, and people at all skill levels, with and without disabilities can find enjoyment in canoeing and kayaking. All that paddlers need are the willingness to accept instruction and the challenge and the ability to adapt to new situations.
Guided by this belief and the conviction that “Water is the ultimate equalizer” Janet Zeller has written a remarkable book with a very simple and yet profound message: “By focusing on each person’s ability, outdoor professionals, paddling instructors, and recreation providers can learn how to make available to those with disabilities.”
Referring to Canoeing and Kayaking for People With Disabilities simply as a “book” seems to somehow to detract from value and purpose. Better to call it a book with a mission or, better yet, the definitive resource guide for anyone who welcomes the many challenges and triumphs of working with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Specifically, the goal of this guidebook is to increase integrated paddling opportunities for people who have disabilities. Together, all paddlers can experience the challenge, discovery, renewal, and freedom that paddling opportunities provide. In addition, through the shared experience of paddling, people with and without disabilities can get to know each other as individuals and move beyond the barriers of uncertainty and misunderstanding often created by disability.
Janet A Zeller is the National Accessibility Program Manager for the U. S. Forest Service. Janet is also a lifelong paddler. After a 1984 accident resulted in quadriplegia, Janet was determined to paddling. She developed the American Canoe Association adaptive paddling in 1989.