How Can an Adventure Break Improve Confidence for a Disabled Child?
Outdoor activity and exercise is something that can benefit everybody. It allows us to immerse ourselves in a natural setting, offering us experiences beyond our usual routine. Here at the Calvert Trust Exmoor, we believe it is something that should be encouraged by all, and for all. Opportunities to try new experiences should be seen as a possibility for everyone, no matter their age or ability. We have been fortunate to witness many positive outcomes in the wellbeing of people who attend our residential trips, whether that be for a week or a short break. In this article, we will be focussing on the positive effects of outdoor adventures, and how this type of break can improve a child’s confidence if they have a disability.
What Happens at an Adventure Break?
It is first important to clarify what an adventure break involves. The Calvert Trust, in particular, is an accessible site which provides a variety of activities, for a range of abilities. Canoeing, abseiling, accessible cycling, horse-riding and sailing are just a few activities to name which are accessible at our residence. We have access to equipment which may not be commonly available elsewhere, allowing residents the opportunity to experience completely new activities. Our five-star, fully accessible accommodation is tailored to each visitor, ensuring each guest only has to focus on making the most out of the exciting activities available. With all accessibility needs managed, visitors have the freedom to make friends in a safe environment which encourages them to try new experiences. Our dedicated and qualified instructors remain with the same group of residents throughout the week, forming trusted relationships and building self-confidence.
The Connection Between Physical Health and Mental Happiness
As most of us aware, there is a positive relationship between the completion of exercise and the improvement of mental wellbeing. Physical activity merged with the outdoors is especially relevant in terms of de-stressing and feeling calm. Adventure breaks combine physical exertion, a safe outdoor environment and specialised support all in one place.
In 2015, the campaign ‘Learning Away’ completed a review on the impact of an adventure residential for children with disabilities. It was reported many children felt the residential helped to improve their confidence. Around 80% of both Key Stage Two and Secondary school children felt they were more self-assured to attempt new things as a consequence of the adventure break. It is understood this was a result of positive feelings when completing activities which challenged social, leadership and learning skills.
Feelings of Liberation When Completing Activities
In Ireland, the Government completed a study on ‘Promoting the Participation of People with Disabilities in Physical Activity and Sport’. The research discovered that the completion of physical activities encourages personal empowerment. It seems like a basic concept, but if you complete an exercise or activity, it demonstrates to yourself that you are competent. This feeling of competency is an inspiration to attempt other goals because dictating feelings of self-doubt have been overcome and replaced with the feeling of perseverance.
As a result of encouraging children with a disability to accomplish these types of adventure activities, many children may feel a sense of independence. This could be because the child is open to activities that they may not regularly do. An effect of this exposure is a freshly engaged mind, and a test of determination. New activities encourage the child to practise communication and co-ordination skills, which in turn, reassures them to learn and be proud of what they are completing.
The Role of Sportsmanship and Inclusion During Activities
In many sports, and forms of exercise, sportsmanship plays a vital role. When trying new activities on your own, or as a team, adapting your competitive behaviour is a must. Team events practised at adventure centres encourage participants to work together. The only way to succeed is to communicate efficiently and support other team members, considering each other’s ability and role in the group. As a result, we see children form lasting friendships which take into account one another’s diverse backgrounds and life experiences. This social networking is essential to create a sense of belonging within the child, as well as educating them about social inclusion. Completing activities such as this acts as a valuable reminder of effective socialisation and community building for each child to refer back to. As a result, the child can relate to an example of when they demonstrated skills such as leadership and inclusion and succeeded in teamwork.
Attending an adventure break is an opportunity for a child to experience something beyond what they are familiar with. For some, it is an avenue to demonstrate they have other talents and skills beyond school life, and sparks inspiration for life after education. It can improve confidence in a child as it validates the success of new activities in a friendly social group. It also acts as a reassurance to children that learning something new affects everybody, no matter who you are. Take a look at our outdoor adventure activities in Devon for more information on what to expect.