10 February, 2019

Next up in our series about leisure activities, Johanna tells us about her son Otto’s air rifle shooting. A perfect activity for Otto since he is interested in hunting and can engage in shooting even during the periods he is supported by wheelchair.

Otto and his family standing in front of a Christmas tree
The family!

Hi Johanna, who are you in your family?

Our family is me, dad Jonas and the children Svea 10 years, Otto soon to be 12 and Nils soon to be 14. We run a farm where we breed bulls, and we also have a dog, cats and chickens. Jonas works at the farm full time. I have a half-time job as an accounting consultant, and I also handle bookkeeping, salaries and work on the farm during weekends.

Otto was born with a double-sided lump foot so every week he got to plaster his legs. An extra check of the eyes and swollen ears was also made. In 2009 he was investigated for short stature and after that he was given growth hormone. It turned out that all these symptoms were linked to his diagnosis which is multiple epiphyseal dysplasia, which he received in 2013. Otto has been through many surgeries – among other things he has surgery on the Achilles’ tendon, lengthened the heel bone and corrected the kneecap. In addition, he has got screws in his knees and feet which afterwards have been removed, now there is only one screw left. From time to time he is supported by wheelchair and he goes to a habilitation bath every week.

Otto is sitting on a chair with an air rifle in his hand pointing towards the board

Otto is doing air rifle shooting – tell us more!

Otto has shot air rifle since the fall of 2017. Now during the winter, the shooting takes place in a basement in the sports hall, where they shoot with air rifles from 10 meters. During the summer months, they stick to a shooting range outdoors where the distance to the board is 30 meters.

The training sessions are one hour a week. At first they shoot two test boards to set the weapon after the shooter, then they shoot five boards each during the session. There are competitions too, and Otto has participated in a few where we also have travelled to other locations. But you can also compete from your home ground – you shoot and then you send in the results to compete.

Air rifle shooting is perfect for Otto since he is very interested in hunting and can shoot even during periods he is supported by wheelchair. There is no one else in the group who has a disability – but it works very well anyway. When Otto started shooting, we found out that one of the leaders is his former therapist from the habilitation. It’s fun because they know each other!

How is the activity accessible and are the parents involved during the activity?

One difficult thing with the activity is that it often takes place in basements, which can be narrow and do not always have an elevator. However, in our shooting room there is a lift which is good. Otto can be on the shooting without us, but we are always there to switch boards and so on to ease the shooting.

Otto sitting on a chair in the shooting hall looking into the camera

Otto tells:

What is the best thing with air rifle shooting?

That you feel like a hunter! And the most fun part is when you get the shot in the middle of the board.

Do you have any special memory from the activity?

Once Grandpa came to watch while I was shooting. I shot two full boards in a row that day, it is a good memory!

Do you have any general tips for other families regarding leisure activities?

If there are no accessible activities around, a tip is to get in touch with different associations and ask if there is any way to adapt the particular activity that the child is interested in. Dare to ask if you can! My experience is that you tend to be a little more “inventive” when you have a child with a disability. Otherwise it is a matter of googling, talking to contacts and asking associations.

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