It’s distressing to see a loved one begin to act differently and lose track of precious memories. However, the challenges that come with people living with Alzheimer’s or dementia don’t have to mean the end of exciting adventures.
The benefits of spending time outdoors have been well documented as rejuvenating mental and physical health, which is why it’s so important that people with Alzheimer’s or dementia experience activities out in the open. Engaging in outside adventures like bushcraft or having a leisurely cycle through the woodlands of Exmoor can provide many with a calming yet exciting experience.
At Calvert Exmoor, we specialise in providing safe, fun and accessible outdoor activities for adults with disabilities, designed for everyone no matter their level of ability.
Outdoor Activities for People with Alzheimer’s
We understand how integral structure is for people with Alzheimer’s, so we schedule our activities to provide routine. Routine and the physical challenges our activities provide are immensely valuable for reducing cognitive decline and promoting balance and strength.
Some of the best activities for dementia and Alzheimer’s include:
All these activities and more are suitable for individuals with Alzheimer’s.
One day you might spend time whizzing around the scenic landscape of Exmoor, past sun-dappled woodlands and the tranquil waters of Wistlandpound Reservoir on our adaptive bikes. The types of bikes available are wheelchair front-loaders, recumbent bikes, hand cycles and side-by-side tandems.
Another day, you could get to know our horses and drive a horse-drawn carriage with guidance from expert riding instructors or get in touch with the surrounding flora by learning bushcrafts.
Support at Every Stage of Alzheimer’s
Whether it’s early, middle stage or late stage Alzheimer’s, we make our activities accessible for all.
Some may think that creating new experiences is pointless if memory loss is severe, but just because someone suffers from memory issues doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy positive experiences and adventures.
Emotional memory is still very much present; people with Alzheimer’s will remember how you make them feel, even if they don’t recall specific details.
The help we offer individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia is only made possible with your assistance. Please think about supporting us however you can to guarantee we can continue our work in helping to enrich the lives of our guests.
Group Connection & Mental Health
No matter what stage of Alzheimer’s, getting to experience an activity with a group offers significant benefits for improving mental health. Our guests get the opportunity to establish solidarity when facing fun adventures and overcoming challenges together, which bolsters a real sense of achievement.
Establishing connections via group activities is very therapeutic and necessary as mental health issues are prevalent for people with this condition, especially in the early and middle stages. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, around 40% of people with Alzheimer’s struggle with depression.
They suggest that, after seeking out professional help, natural treatments are also incredibly beneficial. For example:
- Regular exercise, especially in the morning
- Celebrate successes no matter how small
- Schedule things and keep a routine
- List activities that they enjoy
- Inspirational activities as a form of nurture
- Support groups for those who want to take a more active role in seeking help
As you can see, a combination of routine, physical exercise, group support and activities all contribute to improving the quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s.
Nature & General Well Being
Research has shown that spending time around some natural scenery is an excellent form of stress relief. For example, green exercise helps:
- Improve cognitive ability and keep the brain active
- Lower blood pressure
- Boost your mood
Outdoor adventures are the ideal balance of relaxing and energising.
A residential trip to Calvert Exmoor entails an experience packed to the brim with fun activities. If you would like to learn more about our accessible holidays, please contact our expert team.
Autism is often referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). When it comes to understanding autism, it is important to remember that autism is considered a spectrum, and encompasses a range of disorders or experiences rather than just one. Consequently, each individual who has autism has different levels of sensory sensitivity.
With years of experience providing accessible holidays in Devon, at Calvert Exmoor, we cater to a broad spectrum of needs and understand how important it is that people with autism create and achieve self-care goals.
As such, we’ve created some helpful tips for those who would like to introduce self-care goals to an autistic person’s routine. In this blog, we aim to share these.
Why Are Goals Important For People with Autism?
Setting goals, whether big or small, can act as a motivational tool. It is a way to make changes accessible by implementing little lifestyle habits that are easy to repeat.
Having goals can open up more opportunities to gain greater independence in certain aspects of our lives as they offer us a sense of control. Lots of small goals over time can encourage us to make changes beyond what we would have previously thought possible.
Introducing Self-Care Goals
Some individuals who have autism can find organisation challenging. Using prompts and breaking down tasks into manageable steps can help introduce initially difficult tasks to someone who has autism.
This could include things such as:
- Getting dressed
- Brushing teeth
- Brushing hair
- Packing a bag
- Making their bed
How to Achieve Self-Care Goals
As previously mentioned, splitting tasks into smaller steps will help them become more manageable. There are a range of ways you can approach this, including:
‘Forward chaining’ is a method that The National Autistic Society has recommended. This process involves teaching a skill by breaking it down into smaller, manageable steps, helping to achieve the overall aim.
For example, when brushing your teeth:
- First, take the toothbrush
- Next, rinse the toothbrush with a little bit of water (this step may be an area of debate!)
- Then put a ‘pea-size’ amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush
- Then a drop of water (again, debatable!)
Again, this is a method suggested by the National Autistic Society, except this implements the task steps by working from the last step backwards.
Maintain a ‘Sensory Record’
As you try to introduce small goals, we recommend keeping a diary of the reactions caused by certain tasks or scenarios. By taking note of these occurrences, the process can be reviewed and adapted in the future to accommodate the triggers of unease and uncertainty discovered by these records.
A gentle, sensory experience with toys may help ease some symptoms of anxiety and provide relief from overstimulation.
An excellent way to implement new things, especially for children, is to use illustrations. Leaving pictures as reminders will prompt them to follow the procedure displayed.
For example, the National Autistic Society has suggested putting a diagram, or list, in the bathroom which demonstrates the steps when brushing teeth. You can use pictures found online or create your own.
The National Autistic Society suggests that using a mixture of physical, gestural and verbal prompts can help people remember the order they need to accomplish the breakdown of tasks.
As the name suggests, this form of prompt is done by accompanying the person as you complete the activity.
For example, holding the toothbrush together and squeezing toothpaste onto it.
This is where you can pretend to do the task to prompt them to follow through with the action. For example, miming brushing your teeth as they brush their teeth in real life.
A verbal prompt is when you remind the person of the next step by saying it to them. For example, ‘rinse the toothbrush and put it in the holder.’
In order to help schedule these priorities, providing a calendar is a handy tool for people to refer to and act as a reminder.
To encourage people to achieve their goals, keep it motivational! One of the more successful ways of doing this is through praise. No matter what the task, even if it may seem very minimum, an achievement is an achievement and should receive lots of praise.
By knowing what the person appreciates, you can make the encouragement purposeful to the individual. This may be through verbal praise or a small gift, for example.
If you ever notice a decline in a loved one’s self-care routine, this could indicate underlying issues concerning their mental health. This could be anything from anxiety or depression to forms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
If you feel this may be the case, the National Autistic Society recommends contacting the Autism Helpline, where they can direct you further on the most suitable procedures to take.
Autism Friendly Activities at Calvert Exmoor
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we offer accessible activities for people with autism and a range of other disabilities. We love to encourage all our guests to achieve their ambitions and intend to help those who want to set goals while staying with us.
For example, why not give archery a try? This activity offers a pleasant sensory experience for people with ADHD and/or autism, allowing our guests to unwind and gain a sense of accomplishment.
We take great pride in our certified instructors, who encourage independence when supervising activities by using physical, gestural and verbal prompts.
Daily timetables ensure there is a set routine for our guests. We also encourage using our social areas, where guests can meet and support one another before and after sessions.
Our facilities are tailored to assist all kinds of disabilities; for people with autism, we provide a sensory room that contains various receptive toys.
The wide range of adaptive activities and support we provide is only made possible with your help, so please consider supporting us however you can to ensure our guests can continue to feel empowered and confident during and after their stay with us.
Hopefully, the tips mentioned in this blog will offer some helpful pointers for accomplishing self-care goals! If you have any other recommendations, we would love to hear about them on our social media channels like Facebook!
If you would like more information about the Devon activity breaks we offer and are interested in booking a holiday with us, please feel free to contact us on 01598 763221 or email us at email@example.com.
It cannot be overstated just how important fundraising is for disability charities in Devon. Without the support of people who truly care, we wouldn’t be able to provide the inclusive outdoor adventure activities available at Calvert Exmoor.
If you want to contribute to our valuable work or any other charities close to your heart, but don’t know where to begin, we’ve compiled a few fundraising ideas that can help support disability charities.
What Fundraising Allows Calvert Exmoor to Do
At Calvert Exmoor, we’re dedicated to enabling people with disabilities to experience accessible and exciting outdoor activities.
We believe that learning, behavioural, sensory or physical disabilities do not hinder people from participating in activities that are challenging and fun, it’s merely a matter of adapting to individual needs. Some of our activities include:
- Challenge Course
- Crate Stack
Our guests get the chance to experience these activities and many others. In addition, we provide high-quality meals and accessible accommodation to ensure everyone’s stay is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
These services are immensely valuable to a wide range of people. For example, our adaptive cycling enables wheelchair users to experience the thrill of whizzing along our cycling tracks, and people with autism benefit hugely from spending time outdoors.
We do all of this without government funding, meaning we depend upon your support to continue what we do at Calvert Exmoor and enrich the lives of everyone no matter their level of ability.
Fundraising is the lifeblood of charities like Calvert Exmoor, so please consider supporting us as that money goes directly to our guests.
Disabilities don’t mean an end to fun and adventure. With proper assistance, there’s no limit to the number of things you can achieve.
What You Can Do to Help Raise Money for Charity
The best part about fundraising is that you can do anything you want! Community-led or independent, there are no strict rules in place so feel free to create a challenge that suits you.
If you’re stuck for ideas, we have some suggestions for you.
Take a Look at Our Events
At Calvert Exmoor, we would love to help you get involved in fundraising. Take a look at upcoming events so you don’t miss out!
No matter your level of ability, physical challenges are an excellent way of drumming up interest! People love to see someone push themselves and achieve.
Whether you want to hike, run a marathon, cycle, or wheel, try exerting yourself beyond your usual routine. Or maybe a football tournament is more your speed?
We’ve had all sorts of people raise money for Calvert Exmoor. A family, a stroke survivor and even a local chef, proving you can be an everyday hero!
Simple to do and tasty, a bake sale is something friends and family can easily get involved with. It’s hard to turn down a homemade treat so this is an excellent way of garnering support.
Sell, Sell, Sell
If you have a lot of unwanted or unused items building up in your household, consider having a good spring clean and auctioning them off. Who knows? Maybe your knick-knacks will find a new home.
Raise Funds from Home
Thanks to social media, you could raise money from home. Even before COVID, the internet was an innovative way for people to create online events, but now more than ever, streaming platforms like Zoom enable you to connect with people in a unique way.
You could show off a talent or attempt something out of your comfort zone if you’re not afraid of getting silly. Activities such as karaoke, dance challenges, virtual murder mysteries, or streaming video games are just a taste of what you can achieve online — the possibilities are endless!
If you believe that people with disabilities deserve to enjoy challenges just as much as non-disabled people, then please consider donating or fundraising for a good cause.
Here at Calvert Exmoor, we are passionate about ensuring children and adults can participate in a range of accessible adventure activities and enjoy their stay with us to the fullest. If any of our activities sounds like something you or someone you know would love, get in touch with the Calvert Exmoor team today.
Nobody likes to be left out. That’s why we are deeply invested in providing engaging, safe, and most importantly, inclusive indoor and outdoor activities to improve your quality of life.
At Calvert Exmoor, we understand the need for varied and dynamic activities that are accessible to people of all abilities.
If you’re looking for things to do in Devon for people with disabilities, this will give you some information on how we provide accessible opportunities for the whole family.
How Do We Make Our Activities Accessible?
Calvert Trust is supportive of a wide range of disabilities, accredited by the National Access Scheme for the following:
- Hearing-impaired guests.
- Visually impaired guests.
- Older, less mobile guests.
- Part-time wheelchair users.
- Assisted wheelchair users.
- Independent wheelchair users.
We have designed our equipment to suit all abilities, meaning that no one gets left behind when it comes to fun activities.
Our riding school features hoist facilities, we have a pontoon for watersports, high-quality adaptive paddle grips, bow supports for archery, and climbing supports.
Where you rest is just as important as where you play. After activities are finished, you can retreat to our high quality, fully accessible accommodation and get that well-earned rest. Features include:
- Mattress elevators.
- En-suite level entry shower rooms.
- Shower chairs.
- Electric doors and lifts.
- Widened doors and corridors.
- Menvicall alarms.
- Bed blocks.
- Overbed pole hoists.
- Manual and electric hoists.
- Trembler pads.
You’re in safe hands with our qualified instructors on board to help you get the most out of your experience.
Your instructor will be there for the majority of your stay, allowing a great opportunity for some one-on-one interaction.
They will lead you through a structured programme of activities that are designed to be safe and enjoyable for a broad spectrum of abilities.
What Accessible Activities Do We Have?
We have a varied assortment of activities for the whole family to enjoy no matter your age. Take a look below:
This activity is one of our most popular for a reason.
At first glance, it may seem an impossible feat. But we don’t believe in the impossible at Calvert Exmoor.
As previously mentioned, our specialist equipment allows wheelchair users to participate in abseiling. You control the speed with the rope in your hands, and anyone who needs assistance with that part will be helped by our instructors.
Here’s more on why a disability shouldn’t stop you from abseiling to your heart’s content.
Wheelchair Horse Riding
Wheelchair horse riding is a thrilling and irreplaceable experience.
For those who can’t mount a horse, we provide a wheelchair-adapted horse-drawn carriage so you can take the reins on this adventure.
Wheelchair horse riding is an example of how we can adapt such an exciting activity to be suitable for the needs of everyone. This activity allows individuals who use wheelchairs to feel self-assured and independent.
Access to rural landscapes tends to be rarer for many people with disabilities. Our bushcraft sessions are adapted for a spectrum of disabilities to enjoy the process of lighting a fire, telling stories, and making crafts out of available woodland materials.
If you’d like to explore more accessible activities, have a look at everything you need to know about accessible cycling to get the most out of your experience at Calvert Exmoor.
We deliver unforgettable holidays for people with disabilities, so if you’re interested, don’t hesitate to get in touch!
We understand that there’s a lot to consider when making holiday plans if you or someone you love has visual impairments or other disabilities, especially when you’re seeking an adventure. At Calvert Exmoor, we’re passionate about ensuring our holidays for people with disabilities include a range of unforgettable, safe, and inclusive activities.
A break with us provides an escape from the stress and concerns of everyday life, along with plenty of exciting adrenaline-fueled opportunities. No matter your level of ability, there’s an adventure waiting for you!
Why Are Outdoor Adventures Beneficial For People with Visual Impairments?
Adventuring outside is a delight for all ages, not just children. Active outdoor experiences engage both the mind and body, helping to:
- Reduce stress and lower your blood pressure
- Absorb natural light, improving mental health
- Promote physical exercise which releases endorphins and boosts your mood
Being blind or partially sighted doesn’t take away from your ability to enjoy the serenity of a natural setting. Even just 10 minutes outdoors is guaranteed to improve your mood.
While exploring a rural environment is an enriching experience for everyone, not enough people acknowledge just how valuable it is for mental health. To find out more, check out how an adventure break can improve mental health.
What Outdoor Adventure Activities Can People with Visual Impairments Do?
So what activities are there for people who are visually impaired or blind and want to experience a calming connection with nature?
Here at Calvert Exmoor, we offer a variety of exciting adventure activities for visually impaired or blind guests – we’ve listed just some of our favourites below:
Horse Riding Experiences for People with Visual Impairments
You could visit the stables and enjoy getting to know our horses during one of our horse riding activities. Whether you groom the ponies or ride in a horse-drawn carriage, our specialist riding instructors will be there to assist you every step of the way.
Gravity Sports for People with Visual Impairments
Gravity sports are immensely fun, and we have a range of them on offer to enjoy. Whether you want to climb, abseil, or fly along a zip wire, we’ve got you covered.
Although our outdoor climbing walls are a great challenge, this climbing activity is adapted to suit all needs with the use of hoists and guidance from the instructors. Getting to the top will leave you feeling accomplished and self-assured.
We also have an outdoor wall which can be used no matter the weather for the abseiling activity. Nothing beats the feeling of descending such a steep vertical structure, proving you can do anything when you’re determined.
If those don’t suit your fancy, why not try our zip wire activity? We utilise harnesses and supports that are tailored to suit individual needs, ensuring everyone can have a go.
Our trained instructors will talk you through every step and guarantee that people with visual impairments are given a chance to overcome these obstacles.
Cycling for People With Visual Impairments
If gravity sports are a little too demanding for you, you could enjoy a breezy ride with the whole family around Wistlandpound Reservoir.
Our friendly instructors will help find the ideal bike for you before you head off to explore the cycling route around the reservoir. For the cycling activity, tandem (side-by-side) bikes are probably the best option to allow you to get exhilarating exercise alongside a family member or friend.
For more information, discover everything you need to know about accessible cycling so you can create memorable experiences with the whole family!
Can’t wait to get started on your adventure?
Find out more about booking a stay with us by getting in touch with the Calvert Exmoor team today.
Short breaks and accessible adventure holidays can help provide exciting new opportunities for people with disabilities, encouraging independence, self-belief, improved social skills and much more, while also allowing families and carers to rest and participate in activities too.
However, despite all these great benefits, accessing short breaks can come with some financial concerns. Many may worry they won’t be able to afford this time away or will have questions about funding such a trip. Here we consider what is deemed a short break and what kind of financial help is often available for those that need it.
Here at Calvert Exmoor, we provide inclusive residential breaks for people with disabilities and their families. What we do is made possible with our adaptive equipment and the help of our devoted team, ensuring our fantastic range of outdoor adventure activities is accessible to all!
What is a Short Break?
Short breaks come in all different shapes and sizes – our action-packed adventure breaks are just one option. Primarily, short breaks are designed to give families and people with disabilities an opportunity to rest and take some time away from the difficulties faced in daily life.
Some families will access their short break through a centre, others may take part in a placement scheme, and some might organise an accessible break themselves.
Things that fall under the umbrella of ‘short break’ that you may be able to receive funding for include:
- Holiday leisure and activity programmes
- Overnight care in approved care homes
- After-school and Saturday clubs
- Care at home
- Family link schemes
- Daycare away from home
If you are a parent or carer of someone with disabilities, you may be eligible for various other kinds of support. Read our blog exploring potential financial support options for parents and carers to find out more.
The Importance of Short Breaks For Families
Taking a short break as a family can be especially beneficial as this time away from everyday challenges supports carers’ wellbeing while maintaining a positive family relationship.
Short breaks provide opportunities for respite, quality time with others and the chance to pursue an array of interests, often within the community.
Thanks to several avenues to access short break funding, opportunities like this are made possible for more people.
Who is Entitled to Short Break Funding?
Eligibility will depend on your county of residence and chosen organisation, so it’s important to double-check your local area. For the most part, families with children aged 18 or under with disabilities may be entitled to short break funding.
To be eligible, they will need to be affected throughout their everyday living by one or more of the following:
- Severe physical disability
- Learning disability
- Sensory impairment
Who Provides Funding for Short Breaks?
These incredible opportunities can be made available through grants, some of which will need to assess children or young people with disabilities to confirm eligibility. Here is a list of some short break providers that may help with funding:
- Family Fund grants
- Happy Days Children’s Charity
- Barnardo’s Short Breaks
- National Autistic Society
- Keen 2 Go
However, it is worth looking into your area of residence to find local providers and grants. We also recommend checking GOV.UK for your local county to see how they may be able to support you and your short break.
If your family is after adventure and adrenaline, an accessible holiday with us at Calvert Exmoor is the ideal solution! Please take a look at our blog to find out more about the Calvert experience, and when you’re ready to book your trip, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our wonderful team.
People with autism can find processing everyday sensory experiences difficult. These sensory differences may mean a person with autism navigates the world differently and might seek different experiences than a neurotypical person.
Sensory toys and experiences that increase or decrease stimulation help engage numerous senses or let someone focus on one sensation, functioning to support individuals to relax or concentrate. These kinds of aids can be helpful for both children and adults with autism who are hyper-sensitive or hypo-sensitive to stimulants.
As an activity centre that offers autism-friendly holidays, we understand how important it is for people with autism to feel in control of their surroundings. Our accessible facilities include a sensory room that provides different sensory toys and a safe space to get away from overwhelming stimulants.
What are Sensory Toys?
Sensory and receptive toys are designed to help you fully engage with one or more senses in an enjoyable way. This includes stimulating:
- Bodily Awareness
They are especially useful for children with autism who are learning how to respond to different sensory experiences, supporting both physical and cognitive development. Toys or tools like this can also be helpful with adults with autism as they can provide something to focus on and control when the outside world seems overwhelming or chaotic.
A sensory projector can create displays of lights, colours, patterns and images, helping you create a safe, controlled space with ambient lighting.
Depending on an individual’s response to light, this could be relaxing or exciting. Light projectors or even more simple colour torches offer an immersive but calming experience, making them especially useful tools for sleep routines.
Bubble machines or regular bottles of bubbles make great multi-sensory toys that can pique the interest of people of all different ages.
Not only are bubbles intriguing to look at, with their sheen of colours and wobbling shapes, but having fun with bubbles also creates the opportunity to incorporate some games.
Games could include popping as many bubbles as possible in a given time, blowing the largest bubble or following the bubbles until they pop.
Sand & Slime
Things like sand and slime are great for those that are intrigued by different experiences with touch. Playing with new textures offers a varied sensory experience that individuals can explore at their own pace.
Playing with kinetic sand or slime can be both relaxing and offer an outlet for creativity. As many of these products are available in bright colours or with different themes, they can also appeal to visual senses.
Fidget Cubes & Spinners
Fidget toys come in many forms, whether it’s a puzzle cube, light-up fidget spinner or any other small hand-held toy that has moving parts or enticing textures.
A small fidget toy is ideal to occupy those that are prone to distraction or individuals who like to keep their hands moving.
Fidget toys can be useful for both children and adults as many find them relaxing and provide a distraction from overwhelming sensations.
Sensory rings work in a similar way, distracting individuals and occupying their hands when they want to channel energy into something kinetic. You’ll find various kinds of sensory rings, with discrete, wearable rings that offer interesting textures or larger rubber rings to play with.
Wearable rings will often have small moving parts that will easily keep anxious hands busy and calm those who enjoy repetitive patterns and movements.
Colourful & Interactive Books
Books with vibrant colours and dynamic pictures appeal to anyone who likes to be visually stimulated.
Some books will have different textures and other interactive elements to intrigue and delight the reader’s tactile senses.
Some authors have written books specifically aimed towards children and adults with autism, helping them make sense of their sensory differences or other experiences or presenting relatable accounts of everyday situations.
Rainmakers can offer visual and auditory stimulation. These fun toys are often colourful, with lots of vibrant beads inside that individuals can watch fall and dance as they make soothing rain sounds.
The consistent, white noise-like sound produced by rainmakers can offer a preferable audible experience for those that are too overwhelmed by loud or intricate music where lots of different sounds are present.
Musical instruments are incredibly varied, so they will offer countless auditory experiences with the opportunity to explore different sensations. Research has indicated that music stimulates both hemispheres of the brain, making it a useful therapy tool for people with autism.
As music doesn’t necessarily require the use of spoken language, engaging with different instruments can encourage those who struggle with verbal communication to find new ways to express themselves.
Those that take comfort in noticing patterns may also enjoy the inherent rhythm and counting in music.
Swings & Climbing Apparatus
For some, the act of moving their body and feeling different physical sensations can be soothing and helps relieve overwhelming thoughts or feelings.
Swings or climbing apparatus in the garden can be great tools for this and will help provide hours of fun while spending a bit of time outdoors.
Here at Calvert Exmoor, our giant swing activity provides an exhilarating sensory experience that will get guests moving in new ways. Our adaptive harnesses ensure everyone feels safe and supported, allowing them to focus on building confidence and having an amazing time!
Sensory Blackout Tent
Sometimes someone with autism may feel overstimulated and unable to process lots of things going on. This is when controlling sensory input can be incredibly useful.
A blackout tent or even a room catered to the sensory needs of an individual provides a place where they can retreat without the fear of becoming overwhelmed.
A tent or retreat like this can be customised to each individual and made extra comfortable with weighted blankets or other personal items that bring peace.
Providing adventure holidays that are accessible to all is at the heart of what we do here at Calvert Exmoor. Our activities are adapted to the needs of each individual, so people with autism and disabilities can enjoy their time with us to the fullest.
To book your adventure break, get in touch with our wonderful team!
When on one of our holidays for people with disabilities in Devon, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in numerous exciting adventure activities, including ziplining.
We believe it’s what you can do that counts, so ensure that our activities can be adapted to suit the needs of all our guests, no matter their age or ability.
We often get questions about whether people with disabilities can really do these activities, and the answer to that is, of course, yes! Ensuring everyone can try adrenaline activities is at the heart of what we do; take a look at our range of accessible activities if you’re curious about all the experiences we offer.
Adrenaline Activities for People with Disabilities
Lots of fun outdoor activities (like ziplining, abseiling or our giant swing) will give you a boost of adrenaline, heightening your sense of enjoyment and providing that undeniable rush!
Many might think that traditional adrenaline activities are not accessible to people with disabilities, but that is just not true. Everyone should be able to experience the thrill of whizzing down a zip wire at full speed – and with adaptive equipment and the right support, they can.
Accessible Ziplining at Calvert Exmoor
So, what can you expect when trying the zip wire activity at Calvert Exmoor?
Like any other kind of zip wire, our zipline starts from an elevated height where you will be fitted into a harness with the help of our qualified instructors, ensuring you feel safe and comfortable before you go zipping down the line at full speed!
We use a range of adapted harnesses and tailored supports, so guests with different disabilities can enjoy this activity to the fullest.
This activity will certainly take you to new heights as you’ll be soaring among the trees and experiencing new views of our wonderful centre.
Depending on how many other people are in your group, you may be able to have several goes on the zip wire, making the most of the experience and capturing that thrilling sensation again and again.
Anyone, no matter who they are or their circumstance, is sure to have a blast with this exhilarating activity. You can read our guest stories to learn more about how enjoyable ziplining and our other activities are.
If you discover that you have more than a head for heights, you’ll also be itching to try something like abseiling or our crate stack activity.
Discover how we make our abseiling activities accessible to all.
The Benefits of Zip Wire Activities
Any kind of outdoor adventure activity comes with a whole host of both mental and physical benefits. Simply spending time in nature can help relieve anxiety and stress while also encouraging you to be more active and open to new opportunities.
Our zip wire activity offers a great sensory experience, allowing individuals to feel new sensations.
It can also help boost confidence and give individuals a sense of determination. We understand that the zip wire can be a daunting prospect for some, especially if it is a totally new experience, but many of our guests take the challenge in their stride and emerge with renewed self-belief.
Plus, going down the zip wire is just plain fun!
If you or someone you know would love to experience our range of exciting inclusive adventure activities, why not organise a stay with us? To find out more about booking an accessible break at Calvert Exmoor, please get in touch.
What are the Benefits of Animal-Assisted Therapy?
Interacting with animals can have social, physical and emotional benefits, whether this means spending time with a pet or doing activities alongside animals, such as horse riding.
There has been a rising interest in animal and pet therapy in recent years as more people have started experiencing its positive effects and more research is done into the area.
Horses make wonderful therapy animals – when on one of our accessible holidays in Devon, you have the opportunity to get to know our lovely horses, with the chance to ride them, ride in a carriage and interact with these gentle creatures during your stay!
You can find out more about the benefits of horse riding for people with disabilities in our guide.
What is Animal-Assisted Therapy?
Animals have been helping people for centuries, assisting us on farms and providing companionship. They can also help people with mental and physical disabilities as a form of therapy.
Stroking animals and spending time with them has been found to help temper feelings of anxiety and lower blood pressure, among many other benefits, making it a wonderful tool alongside other forms of mental and physical therapies.
Many find that animals accept you without question and are willing to show affection no matter who you are. Therefore, they can offer some relief for people who are worried about being judged or rejected in some way.
The kind of animals used for therapeutic purposes may depend on the individual seeking animal-assisted therapy and their disability. Common therapy animals include:
Here at Calvert Exmoor, we’ve seen some of the benefits interacting with horses can have first-hand, so understand how rewarding it can be for people of all abilities to spend time with animals.
Discover some of the top benefits of animal-assisted therapy.
Animal Therapy can Improve Your Mood
Interacting with animals can be a great mood-booster for anyone – there’s nothing better than a dog showering you with some love!
The simple act of stroking an animal can prompt your brain to release mood-boosting hormones like serotonin and oxytocin, helping to improve your overall mood and make you feel more relaxed.
Animal Therapy can Support Mental Health
As well as improving general mood, animal therapy can be beneficial for a range of mental health conditions and disorders.
The comforting power of animals means interacting with them can help reduce feelings of anxiety and stress. People have also reported a reduction in feelings of boredom and loneliness when accompanied by a furry or feathery (or even scaly) friend.
Animals can also provide an escape from negative emotions and decrease perceptions of pain.
Thanks to these benefits, this therapeutic practice can be beneficial for people with:
Animal Therapy can Support Physical Health
Taking care of a pet, meeting a therapy animal or participating in animal-based activities can encourage you to exercise and move in new ways. While doing so, you’ll likely also be spending more time outdoors, which comes with a whole host of mental and physical benefits of its own!
As you pet or play with an animal and learn the best ways to interact with them, you can improve motor skills and coordination too.
Being in the presence of an animal can also make you feel more motivated to do activities that support movement and exercise, boosting physical well-being and encouraging you to try new things.
Animal Therapy can Improve Social & Communication Skills
In many cases, animal therapy opens the door to social interactions, as you can bond with other pet owners or the other people taking part in things like horse riding sessions.
Building a bond with animals can also create a feeling of social support, helping people feel like they are not alone. This too can support the development of social support skills that can translate into other areas of their life.
As animals can’t talk and tell you what they want, finding new ways to communicate and interpret their actions is often necessary. This means developing new communication skills or learning what their behaviours might mean.
Animal Therapy can Boost Self-Esteem
As already mentioned, animals won’t judge you and will accept everyone who treats them kindly.
This can help boost self-esteem for people who are worried about not being able to accomplish certain things or not being ‘good enough’ – a therapy animal will love spending time with you no matter what!
Accessible Horse Riding & Stable Activities at Calvert Exmoor
Getting to know our friendly horses and ponies here at Calvert Exmoor is a great way to reap the benefits of animal-assisted therapy.
Some of the horse-based activities our guests can take part in include:
- Horse riding
- Playing games to improve riding confidence
- Riding in a horse-drawn carriage for wheelchair users, those who can’t mount a horse or those who cannot ride safely due to a weight limit
- Meeting and stroking the different horses for an exciting sensory experience
- Learning about horse behaviour and how to communicate with them
- Grooming, tacking up and mucking out
- Pony agility sessions to guide ponies around obstacles
These activities are run by our expert members of stable staff, who will ensure that people of all abilities feel safe and comfortable when interacting with the horses.
Horses are gentle and incredibly intelligent, and our horses are just as professional as the rest of our team, so you can be sure they’ll help you have the best experience possible!
If horse-riding or any of our other inclusive adventure activities sounds like something you or someone you know would love, why not take this opportunity to book an accessible holiday with us at Calvert Exmoor?
To discuss your trip, please get in touch with our team.
Initially, spending time away from home on an overnight residential trip can feel daunting – for both parent and child.
However, trips like this can provide invaluable experiences as they encourage children to become more independent, boost their confidence and offer exciting new opportunities for learning outside of the classroom.
Not to mention, a residential packed with activities and adventure is loads of fun, and somewhere kids are bound to make loads of fantastic memories!
As an accessible holiday site, we’ve seen the positive impact that our outdoor activity school residential trips can have for children of all ages and abilities.
Hopefully, some of our tips below will help clear some of those activity break nerves, leaving your child with plenty of excitement for their upcoming trip.
Talk About the Residential Trip
Begin by asking your child how they feel about the trip. They might be nervous because they are unsure about what to expect or are worried about a particular aspect of their break away.
Expressing worries can do a lot to release those initial anxieties. Take the time to go through each concern and give reassurance by creating solutions together.
If your child is nervous about a visit to us at Calvert Exmoor, take a look at our website together so they can see our array of photos, get an idea of what to expect, and learn about how their trip will work once they arrive.
Create a List of Positives
Even if your child is feeling nervous, there may be some aspects of the trip they are especially looking forward to.
Discuss these positive feelings with your child and create a list of all the accessible adventure activities they are excited to try. This can help them become more open to embracing the experience and replace feelings of anxiety with anticipation.
Turn the Positives into a Poster
After creating a list of all the exciting opportunities coming their way, try turning these ideas into a visual.
Creating something like some simple doodles, a poster or scrapbook helps your child visualise the activities they’ll be doing, making them more of a reality and less of a scary unknown.
Flip the Fear
Instead of using words like nervous, anxious or worried when talking about the overall experience of the residential trip, encourage your child to reframe these thoughts more positively and replace the word with ‘excited’.
With the understanding that nervousness and excitement have incredibly similar physical responses, transforming nervous energy with positive energy can be an effective solution.
Get to Know the Location
Familiarising yourself with an unknown situation or location can be one of the best ways to temper fears.
Look up your child’s destination with them and explore the area together. Have a look at pictures of the surrounding sites to help your child build up a picture of where they’re going and what they’ll be doing.
This process can also uncover facts about the place that might be of special interest to your child, helping them feel more excited about visiting someone or somewhere they want to find out more about.
Arrange a Sleepover or Mini Trip Away
Easing your child into the idea of a residential with a smaller trip helps them acclimatise to the idea of spending time away from home.
A trip to a friend’s or grandparent’s house means your child can get used to you not being there while still being in a familiar and comfortable environment.
Create a List of Things to Take
When the trip gets nearer, compile a list of things to take. Write this list together, so your child feels they have some ownership of the experience and are involved in every step.
Having a physical list to check can also ensure that your child doesn’t leave anything behind when it’s time to return home.
Take a look at our essential things to pack for an accessible activity holiday to ensure your child has a comfortable time away.
Pack for the Trip Together
Packing for a trip can build up a sense of excitement and anticipation. Ensuring they’ve got everything they need will also help your child feel more involved and will encourage a sense of independence.
This might be your child’s first trip away without you – which can be a big step. Explore this idea of independence with them and discuss all the things they will be able to accomplish on their own.
When it comes to saying goodbye, remind them that you’ll see them soon and can’t wait to hear about all the adventures they have.
Making the Most of a Residential Trip
Residentials often provide exciting and memorable experiences, so encourage your child to appreciate this and make the most of their adventure holiday.
You could give them a special journal or even a camera to document their break and remember all the wonderful experiences they had.
The Benefits of Residential Trips for Children with Disabilities
Ensuring everyone can take part in exciting adventure activities is at the heart of what we do at Calvert Exmoor.
When your child visits our accessible activity centre, they will be well looked after and have the opportunity to participate in an array of activities – whether they can’t wait to have a go at climbing, cycling or bushcraft, there are loads of things for them to look forward to.
A residential trip full of activities can offer many benefits to children of all abilities. It can:
- Encourage independence and resilience
- Boost confidence and self-belief
- Reduce feelings of anxiety and stress
- Provide new experiences and opportunities
- Provide the chance to make new friends.
Many of our guests have experienced ongoing benefits from their time with us as they get the chance to grow and develop at their own pace.
Hopefully, we have inspired some confidence and excitement in you and your child as you prepare for their adventure break.
As well as running school residential trips, Calvert Exmoor also welcomes adult guests with disabilities, encouraging the mindset that no matter who you are and no matter your circumstance, it’s what you can do that counts.
To find out more about what we do and the exciting opportunities available, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our wonderful team.