Reach4Reality Phase 2
A story by Reach4Reality
We worked with 9 young people with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, involving them in outdoor activity breaks (camps).
The length of the breaks depended on the needs of each young person but included short sessions of up to half a day. A day’s activity, overnight stay and activities, weekend breaks and for one young person a five day camp.
What Reach4Reality Phase 2 did
Opportunities were advertised through local networks and organisations such as NAS, Chip+, Connecting Carers. Nine applications were received and we were able to work with these 9 young people to varying degrees.
Activity breaks included, 20 short activity sessions. These took place locally for the young people or at Abernethy Trust Nethybridge and activities ranged from badminton, climbing wall sessions, local walk or bike ride or using the Highland Cycleability track. 7 full day activity sessions which took place at Abernethy Trust the activities included canoeing, climbing (indoor climbing wall), archery, team challenges, swimming, zip-wire and Adventure Course.
5 overnight stays plus a full day's activity again at Abernethy Trust. Activities similar to the above plus rafted canoeing, orienteering and a team activity (Mission Impossible). 10 full weekends including 1 1/2 day's activities. Additional activities included horse riding, dry slope skiing and mountain biking.
A 5 day camp for one young person at Glencoe Outdoor Centre: activities similar to those above but also kayaking, canyoning, longboating, rock climbing, Tyrolean traverse and hill walk.
Most of the young people benefited from the gradual build up from short activity sessions, through days and overnights to one or two weekend stays. A couple of young people due to their autistic spectrum disorder preferred just to have short activity sessions. On all activities the young people were supported on a 1:1 basis by Reach4Reality staff and volunteers. Before and after activities the young people were visited by Reach4Reality staff to review each session and plan the next step.
What Reach4Reality has learned
That because of their autism some young people need a slower and much more gradual build up to activities and that for some even an activity day is a massive step for them. But with the right support and activities tailored to their needs and interests, they can do and achieve things they (and their carers) never thought they would be able to!
Personalisation of activities is the key to success: we have widened our range of activities for our short activity sessions locally (up to 1/2 day) to meet the specific interests of the young people: for example badminton, swimming, indoor climbing wall, horse riding.
Some of the young people have remained in contact with each other after their activities with us, and carers too have benefitted from meeting and chatting to each other.