It is not unusual to feel anxious when you are in an unfamiliar setting and situation. It is an entirely acceptable feeling, no matter what your age or who you are.
It is important to remember, if you do feel these emotions, they do not have to remain with you throughout your adventure break. There are small but helpful things you can do to improve how you perceive your new situation.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we are dedicated to providing accessible breaks for everyone to enjoy, from school residentials to holidays for people with disabilities. We want to make sure that every one of our guests has the best experience possible, so have created this blog to help you.
Who Can Benefit From This Advice?
We have created these tips for everyone to try if they are ever feeling anxious when they are away from home.
If you are an independent adult on an accessible adventure break, we hope you can refer to this blog to help you if you are feeling unsure.
If you are a carer or a parent with a child of any age, who is about to embark on a residential adventure, we hope we can help you with ideas on how to alleviate their feelings of anxiety.
Accept How You Are Feeling
It is ok to feel a bit on edge when you are away from home, even if you are only down the road! It is a feeling that can primarily occur when your usual daily routines have had to change for the duration of your trip.
Begin by identifying the feelings of unease and accepting them for what they are. It is important to remind yourself that it is completely fine and natural to feel this way when you are away from what you know.
Talk To Someone About How you Feel
Once you have accepted how you currently feel, let someone else know. Whether they are:
• A staff member, such as an instructor
• A family member
• A friend you have gone on the adventure break with
• A teacher
• A carer
You never know, they may feel similar and appreciate that you have confided in them! You can talk about what you love back at home and how they might also like it if they ever come to visit.
It may break the ice for those you do not know so well too.
Remember You Can Call Home
Living in the 21st-century means you are never too far from home! With mobile phones, social media, Skype, FaceTime and WhatsApp, staying in touch couldn’t be easier.
If you would like to ring home and talk about things, go for it! There is no shame in letting your nearest and dearest know about how you are doing. They will be able to see the situation from the outside and remind you of all the amazing reasons you wanted to go in the first place.
Talking to your family members will reassure your anxiety that everything back home is ok and you aren’t missing out on anything. Their jolly voices will let you know they are happy and healthy.
Put Things Into Perspective
Once you have accepted and communicated how you feel, it is time to try and gently shift your perspective on the experience.
You feel anxious, and that is completely acceptable. And it is also ok to feel worried but still want to make the most of your opportunity away from home.
Think about the initial reasons why you wanted to come. What activities did you want to try? Were they as you expected them to be? How did it feel to do them? What highlights will you share when you get back home?
Record Your Feelings
Noting down your feelings can be as effective as talking for some people.
You could think about:
• What were the highlights of the day? You could break down the day into morning, afternoon and evening and reflect what you enjoyed the most at each point.
• What challenges did you face today?
• How could the situation be different next time?
Good or bad, it is all acceptable to note down!
Perhaps you will revisit your thoughts in your journal, or perhaps you won’t, it doesn’t matter! Similar to talking, it is just good to get the feelings out in the open so you can move forward and take each day as it comes.
Try to Be Social, Even If You May Not Feel Like It
When you feel uncomfortable, the idea of talking with new people can feel incredibly daunting.
If you are on a trip without company from home, or with people you do not know so well, it is essential to ensure you do not isolate yourself, especially if you are not in the most positive of mind frames.
By socialising, it will feel like a massive achievement in itself and may instantly lift your mood. Many adventure breaks have social areas for guests to interact with. Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we have numerous social areas for our guests to relax in including, The Barn bar, the games room and our stunning courtyard for warmer weather.
You never know who you are going to meet, so try your best to keep an open mind even though this is easier said than done. You may make a friend for life, all starting with a simple hello!
Keep Social Goals Attainable
If you are a shy person, keep your social goals small and achievable, so you don’t feel too overwhelmed. Try meeting one person, to begin with. Listening is an admirable trait in people, so try this at first and see where you go!
Get Out Your Comfort Zone
When you feel like you miss home, try and reflect back to why you wanted to go on your adventure break and the activities you envisioned yourself trying. Speak to your instructor about your feelings, so they can encourage and reassure you to try all the experiences you thought you would try before you felt anxious on the trip.
Bring Familiar Things With You
Bringing something special to you from home is a popular thing to do.
It could be a much-loved photo, a cuddly toy, some sweet treats or a cushion. Anything that brings you comfort, don’t be afraid to take it with you.
For parent or carers whose children are going on a residential trip away, why not ask your child what they would like to take with them? Take a look at our blog on how to get your child excited for a residential trip for some other handy hints and tips!
Have you ever felt homesick when you were on an adventure break? What helped you? We would love to know! Why not let us know on our social media channels?
Being active is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Not only are there distinct physical advantages, but the NHS website expresses how exercising consistently is proven to improve feelings of self-esteem.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we promote a can-do attitude and aim to encourage all our visitors to achieve their heart’s desires. As a result, we have selected some of the top sites online where users can search for local activity and sports clubs across the UK.
Whether you would like to try swimming, bowling, football, tennis, surfing or any sport, these sites can share with you the accessible activities available in your area. Take a look at our blog on the Five Benefits of Surfing for People With a Disability for more information on this unique activity and discover the fantastic work led by the Wave Project!
ParalympicsGB has created the Parasport website alongside Toyota. Their goal is in ‘making movement better for everyone.’
The site has been produced in the hope of becoming the largest inclusive, online community which shares valuable information about sporting opportunities across the country. It shares not only information about offered sports, but also a place to read up on the stories and accomplishments of people who have joined exercise groups and clubs.
With an emphasis that everyone should have equal opportunities in trying the sports they want to, they promote that everyone can find an activity that they can enjoy!
What the Site Offers:
Parasport can be used as a search engine to discover available sports across the UK. They also share information about upcoming events regarding accessible activities and provide an online community for those involved, or would like to be involved, in sporting events and clubs.
The Parasport website also has a section of suggestions for sports you can try for inspiration. Each sport featured has a general summary of what to expect, as well as some handy tips on things to take along to a session.
They offer information on the amenities of local leisure centres too.
The NHS provides users with a trove of information for health issues, including both mental health and physical health matters. It offers advice on symptoms and how to get help where necessary.
The Live Well section of the site can provide you with tips for eating better, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising tips, how to improve sleep patterns as well as support for issues with substances such as alcohol.
What the Site Offers:
The NHS provides an online guide for improving your levels of exercise. The advice includes tips on:
• How to build exercise into your day
• A search for events and activities
• A list of disability sports and associations
• A list of national bodies
Here you can search for clubs and forums nationwide and see what there is on offer, while learning about little changes you can make to improve your lifestyle.
Para Dance UK
‘Everyone can dance!’ is the motto of Para Dance UK! The charity is the national governing body for the sport for Para Dancing throughout the country.
UK wheelchair dancing is believed to have been developed in Scotland in the late 1960s. While people were learning how to move their wheelchairs, it was here that it was realised it could be done to music.
In the 70s, the Wheelchair Association began, and in 2006 the co-founders of the charity started the Wheelchair Dance Sport Association (UK), also known as the WDSA (UK). Under the influence of the International Paralympic Committee who rebranded the sport internationally to Para Dance, the WDSA (UK) also adjusted their name in 2017, creating Para Dance UK.
Their goal is to ensure that the sport is promoted in the UK and encouraged as an accessible activity for all to enjoy, especially for those who feel like dancing is something they might not be able to participate in.
What the Site Offers:
The site supplies an in-depth look into the history of the sport, which makes for a fascinating read. They are a source of information for budding dancers by offering information on how they can get involved. The site provides a directory which can ‘Find A Group’ in your local area through merely entering your postcode.
You can also discover a course that Para Dance UK provide and read up on dance competitions.
Activity Alliance is focussed on making sure we all live the most active we possibly can, no matter our abilities. They provide help to other organisations across a range of sectors so they can support the needs of disabled individuals and create inclusive environments.
It is their mission to change their perceptions of what disabled people can achieve and want to make the UK a more comprehensive country.
They work with places such as leisure centres and local and national groups by offering additional support such as:
• Inclusion programmes
What the Site Offers:
The site offers information on inclusive gyms in your area which have been made possible through the Inclusive Fitness Initiative, IFI. This scheme has run for a number of years and has created inclusive gyms and leisure centres by ensuring they are accessible.
You can also search for information on current events and happenings in your local area.
The help doesn’t stop there, as they also provide a ‘Beginners Guide’, with handy hints and tips for those just starting out.
Council for Disabled Children – Transition Information Network
The Transition Information Network (TIN) is an organisation set up by the Council for Disabled Children.
The inspiration behind TIN is to ensure that disabled children have access to activities and sports, which could positively influence their lives.
The site offers a range of activities including:
• Social places
• Weekend clubs
• After school clubs
TIN believes that by encouraging children to join these local communities, they will make more friends and live a happier life.
What the Site Offers:
The site offers a list of activities to charities and groups in the following sectors:
• Clubs and Forums
• Short Breaks
Each area provides a link to the charities and groups within these sectors for individuals to try.
Hopefully, we have provided you with some helpful websites so you can choose a sport to begin! If you have any information on accessible groups and clubs in your local area, we would love to hear from you on our social media channels!
Calvert Trust Exmoor is an accessible site where we want everyone to enjoy themselves! If you require more information about the adventure breaks we offer and are interested in our programmes for Devon adventure activities, please feel free to contact us on 01598 763221 or e-mail us at email@example.com.
For those who are not familiar with sign language, it is not uncommon to assume that sign language has one universal signing system. However, this is not the case. It is believed there is anything between 138 to 300 distinct forms of sign language currently used across the planet.
Why is Sign Language Used?
Sign language is used as another way of communicating. It is a language system used mainly by those who have hearing impairments or are Deaf. Unlike the spoken word, where talking out loud is the main form of interaction, Sign Language uses the below as the primary ways of communicating:
• Body language
• Facial expressions
Why Are There So Many Forms of Sign Language?
Similar to verbal language, ways of communicating develop within cultures and groups of people unique to the area they live in. Therefore, these interactions will be different between communities.
Most sign languages systems don’t align with the spoken languages of the environment and tend to be a separate language system.
A good example is the difference between American Sign Language (ASL) and British Sign Language (BSL). Both the spoken languages of these communities are the same; they verbally speak in English. However, sign language differentiates between the two as they are in different areas of the world.
How Sign Language is Developed
It is not unusual for of sign language to advance from a ‘parent sign language’. An example that highlights this can be found in the similarities between ASL and French Sign Language (LSF).
Despite the geographical distance, they bare resemblance due to the introduction of the ‘methodical sign system’ produced in France during the 18th century. Laurent Clerc, a French teacher who was Deaf, shared this system with American Deaf education and created the now named American School for the Deaf.
Similar to accents in spoken language, accents and dialects also exist within sign language. As sign language is more of a secluded form of communication, there tends to be a considerable variation between regions. This is especially prevalent in Britain, between towns and cities across the country.
What Forms of Sign Language are Used in the UK?
Below are the most common forms of sign language used in the UK. As previously mentioned, different regions will slightly differ according to their dialects.
British Sign Language (BSL)
The type of sign language used the most in Britain is British Sign Language, also known as BSL.
Research in 2011 suggested that BSL is used in favour of other sign languages by 145,000 people.
According to the BSL website, it is formed from ‘its own grammatical structure and syntax’. Therefore it is not related to the spoken language of English.
In 2003, BSL was officially regarded as a minority language by the Government after a thorough campaign. As a result, according to the BSL website, awareness for Deaf communications has seen an increase and BSL is recognised in the same way other minority languages are, such as Welsh and Gaelic.
If you would like some more information about British Sign Language, the BSL website provides further guidance and support. You can also discover how you can take a course in BSL.
Influence in Wales
A more recent advancement, a project by Mudiad Meithrin in Wales is prepared to teach BSL to young students through the spoken language of Welsh as opposed to English.
Irish Sign Language
Also known as ISL, Irish Sign Language is mainly used in the Republic of Ireland but is also exercised in Northern Ireland. BSL is also commonly used in Northern Ireland too.
ISL tends to have similarities to French Sign Language but has a bit of inspiration from BSL too. Like BSL, it doesn’t bear a resemblance to spoken English or Irish.
However, an intriguing aspect of ISL is its gender sign language. Due to the separate male and female schools, sign languages may differ between the two.
Sign Supported English (SSE)
Sign Supported English is not a language on its own. The signs used are the same as those used in BSL. However, the signs are expressed in the same order as the spoken language of English is communicated.
The key use of SSE is to accompany the learning process of those who have hearing impairments and are learning English grammar as well as sign language.
Makaton is also used as a support alongside spoken language, for those who may need assistance with communication or learning difficulties. It could help the learning development of someone who has Down Syndrome, a neurological disorder or a language impairment, for example.
If you are interested to discover how outdoor learning can also help child development as an educational tool, take a look at our blog on Why Learning Outside the Classroom is Important.
Calvert Trust Exmoor is an accessible site where we welcome everyone! If you require more information about the adventure breaks we offer and are interested in our programmes for charity holidays for disabled people, please feel free to contact us on 01598 763221 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For many, residential trips may be the first time you and your child are separated over a more extended period compared to the usual family routine. As a result, many parents may have burning questions, and in some circumstances, apprehensions, about sending their child on a residential school trip. Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we are well experienced in running residential trips, alongside being expert providers of holidays for people with disabilities. With this in mind, we have created a parental guide to offer information on what to expect, as well as to ease feelings of anxiety.
Expect Your Child to Feel Nervous
Feeling nervous about leaving home for an unusual amount of time is a natural emotion that can accompany the residential experience. It is good to talk through these feelings and offer reassurance. We know that helping your child to feel more comfortable with an exciting experience can have its difficulties and have provided some handy hints and tips for those who would like some advice on how to get your child excited for a residential trip.
Expect Your Own Feelings of Anxiety
Being away from your child may produce slightly similar feelings of nervousness. This is also natural and should be predicted. However, knowing your child is experiencing new activities which can enhance their self-belief is a very comforting thought. For more information on how activity breaks can do this, take a look at how an adventure break improves self-confidence for a disabled child.
Know Your Child Will be Trying LOTS of New Activities
Possibly one of the most exciting parts of attending a residential trip is that the guests have the opportunity to experience fun and exciting activities. It is the chance for them to attempt something they perhaps have always wanted to, outside the usual expectations of school and daily life. This is the real attraction for schools, families and groups to organise a trip to an activity break as it challenges people in a fresh and intriguing way.
Know Children Will Always be Supervised
On this note, while guests try new activities, it should be stated that they will always be supervised by a professional and experienced instructor! Talking through the activities beforehand, demonstrations and safety rules will all feature during any activity tried.
Prepare for Mud and Water!
Many residential activities will feature a lot of mud and water! It is worth keeping this in mind when packing with your child and ensure you have packed for the residential appropriately. Schools often supply a recommended packing list, and it may also be worth contacting the school or organisation responsible for the trip to keep up to date with requirements.
Meals Will be Provided
As many children are not responsible for feeding themselves while out of the parental home, this is usually a necessary requirement for school trips and many residential trips will include meals. For any specific food requirements or allergies, the school must be contacted and informed, as well as the residential provider. The school or organisation may do this on your behalf; it is worth checking.
The Accommodation will Have Shower Facilities
As previously mentioned, residential trips tend to be a bit messy! As a result, washing facilities are necessary, and the residential provider should cover this. This may be a high up priority for those parents or carers with children who have a disability. For example, here at the Calvert Trust Exmoor, our accommodation is supplied with expert washing facilities which can be tailored to match the needs of the guest.
Additional Needs Can be Organised
Any other requirements should be able to be catered for. An organisation such as our own will be dedicated to providing accessible experiences for all and are only a phone call away from being able to tailor the residential experience to match the needs of the guest. Always contact the school or organisation responsible with queries on particular requirements so the residential provider can be informed.
If you do have any queries about our adventure breaks, in particular, we would love to hear from you. Please feel free to ring us on 01598 763221. Alternatively, you can also reach us on e-mail at email@example.com
Five Benefits of Surfing for People with a Disability
Surfing is a highly active sport that requires the focus of both mind and body. Here at the Calvert Trust Exmoor, we believe everyone should have a chance to experience and enjoy such a fun sport. Our accessible site is idyllically located near the beautiful North Devon coastal village of Croyde, where we offer surfing as an offsite activity. We are in proud partnership with both Surf South West and the Wave Project and are excited to include surfing into our current list of accessible activities. The lessons will be a step above our regular sessions, and instead of having ten people to one instructor, one to one sessions will be available for our guests.
A dedicated charity to surf therapy, an impressive 2239 young people have been involved in Wave Project courses to date. The Wave Project believes that surfing can help children and adults with disabilities, mainly by improving their feelings of anxiousness through surfing. In this article, we would like to explore how surfing benefits those who attend the sessions.
Surf Therapy Research
As a relatively recent breakthrough, surf therapy has not been thoroughly researched. However, there have been a couple of examples such as the University of Rhode Island’s study on the ‘Benefits of Surfing for Children with Disabilities: A Pilot Study’ in 2012. The study discusses how limited participation in physical activities has a wide range of adverse effects, including increased obesity and secondary health problems down the line. It also touches on the psychological impact of not completing activities for people with a disability. Our article will go on to discuss its findings on why surfing should be used to combat this.
The Wave Project also produces a yearly evaluation, which is based on the completion of questionnaires answered by participants before and after they attend a surf session, focussing on feelings of self-belief. It also advocates that providing people with disabilities the access to complete exciting and challenging activities should be wholeheartedly encouraged for both the positive mental and physical implications it can have, as our article will explore.
It Can Improve Physical Fitness
Surfing is widely acknowledged as an intense form of exercise which involves healthy levels of aerobic activity. The 2012 study by the University of Rhode Island found that overall, surfing improved the physical wellbeing of the participants, especially in terms of their upper-body strength and their levels of cardiorespiratory fitness. The reference to cardiorespiratory fitness is especially relevant to children who have physical disabilities, as it is understood that it is generally relatively low compared to those children who do not have disabilities. As a result, the study suggests that surfing is beneficial for the physical improvement for those who have disabilities.
It Offers Dedicated One to One Time
An essential part of the surf therapy sessions at the Wave Project is to ensure each attendee is looked after in a one to one environment. Where this arrangement understandably assists in health and safety precautions, it also helps to form trusting relationships between the attendees and the dedicated volunteers. One to one time with the Wave Project volunteers has been described as one of the most meaningful parts of the experience by the children who attend the surf therapy sessions with the charity. The surf therapy experience can feel enriched due to the high level of interactive instructing devoted to the children. Furthermore, it can limit distractions as outside pressures are contained in a one to one environment. This set up also encourages attendees to rely on themselves to achieve the activity under the supervision of volunteers. As a result, it may enhance feelings of independence due to the encouragement while being in a stable and committed environment.
It Provides Social Inclusion
The 2018 Wave Project Evaluation also emphasises the feeling of social inclusion which has emerged from the network of people attending the sessions. It is a sense of community that not only applies to the participants who complete the therapy but also their parents, carers and the volunteers. Some of the volunteers initially participated at the Wave Project as attendees themselves and with this empathy in mind, have successfully created an incredibly welcoming and understanding environment. Furthermore, because of the energetic nature of the activity, the friendship between instructor and child can blossom, and children don’t feel as distant as they may do in a school environment, for example.
It Supports Feelings of Confidence and Self Belief
Both research by the University of Rhode Island and the 2018 Wave Project Evaluation suggests how taking part in an organised activity has the ability to improve self-esteem. The Wave Project Evaluation in particular, found that the relationship formed between child and volunteer encouraged the sense of belonging, and therefore produced the feeling of acceptance. These feelings are incredibly important in improving a person’s self-esteem and personal perception. By sparking these feelings towards oneself, confidence can improve, and the desire to challenge oneself is boosted.
It Provides a Challenging but Fun Experience
Surfing is a truly unique sport, and teaches so many skills including balance, as well as furthering water knowledge. The Wave project discloses different stories in their Report, which emphasises the fascination and pride participants feel when completing a session. One parent from Devon describes how their child goes to school feeling elated by the fact they surf and other classmates are not familiar with the sport.
For inspiration on accessible holidays in Devon, take a look at the dedicated adventure breaks we provide. If your child is already attending an activity break, and you would like some guidance on how to get your child excited for a residential trip, take a look at our blog!
In 2018, over £50 million was raised by the Poppy Appeal. These donations help to care for both current and former members of the Armed Forces and their families. There are a variety of UK charities which have been set up to help former soldiers. The gov.uk website has a vast and useful list of charities in connection to veteran welfare and the service community. In this article, we have chosen a selection of charities which aim to support ex-service personnel who have suffered physical or mental trauma. The charities hold similar values to our own, to have accessibility for all.
Every year, Calvert Trust Exmoor welcomes war veterans for residentials at our five star, all accessible accommodation. For more information, take a look at our accessible holidays in Devon to find out what to expect when you stay with us.
The Royal British Legion- The Battle Back Centre
The Battle Back Centre was created in 2011 by the Royal British Legion. It was implemented to support injured members of the Armed Forces who were hurt while working in Iraq and Afghanistan. It focuses on providing accessible exercise and adventure activities in a safe space for servicemen and women to share and discuss their experiences while growing in confidence. It hopes to help introduce productive avenues for those who attend with their feelings of stress and anxiety. It has more recently developed wellbeing courses for veterans too.
Head to the Royal Legion website for more information or ring:
For serving personnel: 01952 815 670
For veterans: 01952 815681
Combat Stress has worked in supporting former members of the Armed Forces community to deal with the mental effects of their service for an impressive 100 years. It aims to help with depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD. It offers various specialist treatment and therapies in three different centres across the country. These include Ayrshire, Shropshire and Surrey and provide both residential and outpatient programmes as well as offering support for substance misuse. Furthermore, Combat Stress has introduced a Peer Support Service, a network created ‘by veterans for veterans’. It aims to provide a secure space for people to discuss their experiences with others who have been through similar situations and is an opportunity for ex-military to socialise comfortably.
A helpline for Combat Stress is available 24 hours a day throughout the year.
For veterans and their families: 0800 138 161
For serving personnel and families: 0800 323 4444
Text service is also available: 07537 404719
The Not Forgotten
The Not Forgotten is a charity which brings ex-service personnel together through social activities and holidays. Help is offered to anyone who has served or is currently serving in :
The Royal Navy
The Royal Marines
The British Army
The Royal Air Force
The Merchant Navy, both Regular and Reserve Forces
The charity aims to inspire confidence through physical tasks, which aim to challenge and inspire feelings of value and self-confidence. The charity also promotes the importance of socialising and creating friendships with fellow ex-service personnel.
To apply, head to the Not Forgotten website and fill in a general information form or print off and send in the post.
This charity has impressively supported for the Armed Forces for over 130 years. They pride themselves on their flexible services which they work hard to adjust and tailor to each individual to ensure help is as effective as possible. Working alongside other military charities, they are dedicated to providing those who seek support are efficiently looked after. These services include both physical and emotional care, including housing, finances, PTSD, addiction and relationship help.
To speak to a Forcesline advisor, telephone lines are available from Monday to Friday, 09:00- 17:30 on 0800 731 4880.
Help for Heros
Help for Heros is a well-known charity which offers support nationwide for those who have suffered an injury and illnesses while serving in the Armed Forces. They offer a recovery programme which has been developed alongside the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre which aims to either create the opportunity for veterans to live independently or for those who can, to successfully return to their military unit. The Stanford Hall Estate has been developed to make this possible and is a vital part of the programme. The H4H Veterans Clinical Advisor has been implemented to aid more advance injuries that require more complex treatment.
For further information about the support Help for Heros provides, please contact 0300 303 9888.
The NHS is not a charity, but it is worth looking into the help offered which is specific to ex-service personnel. They have a series of services which are designed to support the Armed Forces community across England. These include :
NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS)
TILS was created to help servicemen and women transitioning from their service out of the Armed Forces. The aim is to prevent mental health issues developing further than the early stages by giving support promptly. Other affairs such as finance, employment and housing can also be offered.
NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service (CTS)
This could be considered as the next stage after TILS if initial treatment has not shown any signs of significant progress and used for more advanced mental health issues. It consists of intensive therapies and occupational and trauma-focused therapies to treat substance misuse and physical health, amongst other areas which need support.
If you are looking for adventure breaks in the Southwest of England, our accessible site is situated in the peaceful and soothing countryside of Exmoor. For more information on our location, take a look at our blog on Six Top Accessible National Trusts Site in Devon.
Residential trips are an exciting time for all involved. To ensure the trip goes according to plan, preparation is key! Here at the Calvert Trust, we have created a list of recommended items to pack. We have also provided some extra tips to make sure you know what to expect when attending an activity break. For some advice on how to gear your child up for a school residential in Devon, take a look at our blog on How to Get Your Child Excited for a Residential Trip for some helpful ideas!
Look at the Weather Beforehand
Even though the weather tends to be temperamental, having a little look at the forecast can give a general idea of what to expect! Say for example a heatwave is expected, stocking up on sun protection, hats and sunglasses will be essential!
How Much to Pack?
Ideally, you will need to pack enough items to last the duration of the trip, and to be on the safe side, a few extra provisions. Take into account the types of activities you will be experiencing and if any of them will need extra clothing. For example, if the weather is a bit drizzly and bushcraft is on the agenda, an extra pair of socks for that day may be necessary. This is especially relevant for water-based activities like canoeing and sailing as well. It’s not uncommon to pack extra underwear items too.
Don’t Forget Toiletries!
This includes hairbrushes and combs too! For girls, its best to ensure you have any feminine hygiene products regardless of what is expected, just in case. If you do forget, our onsite shop sells them too. For some ideas on what to take, have a look at this list:
The Magic of Layering
When it comes to moderating temperature, layering your clothing is an effective way to do this. Unless the weather is unusually cold, we recommend packing numerous thinner jumpers and tops which can be worn together and removed as temperature increases instead of one thick jumper.
Please include attribution to https://calvertexmoor.org.uk/ with this graphic.
SPELL has been created by the National Autistic Society as a guideline to help people communicate and understand the needs of people who are on the autistic spectrum. Here at the Calvert Trust Exmoor, we believe in making the world an accessible place for all. As a dedicated site that includes holidays for disabled visitors, we would like to spread awareness of autism to make life feel more accommodating for those who are affected by the disorder. In this article, we explain the SPELL structure and how it can help communications for those who have autism.
What is SPELL
SPELL has been created by integrating the five essential factors which have proven to be the most effective communicators for people with autism. SPELL aims to improve the lives of those with autism by providing surroundings that feel more considerate and approachable through accessible communications. It is a structure that can be applied throughout the autistic spectrum, such as Asperger syndrome.
SPELL is broken down into five letters, to explain the implications. These are:
Positive Approaches and Expectations
Below we will discuss each part more in-depth.
Providing a setting that feels structured, and doubtful of surprises, will help someone with Autism. The reason for this is because many people who have the condition do not react well to a change in routine.
Supplying information in a structured way is made easy with visual aids. These can be simple pictures and words of the daily routine, organised in a list. This can help someone with autism manage the expectations of the day by seeing them beforehand in a clear format. It can also help to reinstate a feeling of independence and control over a situation because expectations have been communicated, subsiding feelings of stress and nervousness.
Therefore, creating a safe and stable environment can significantly improve the overall wellbeing of someone with autism. Over time, when a routine is broken due to unavoidable change, someone with autism may be able to adapt to the changes due to the feelings of care from stability previously provided.
Positive Approaches and Expectations
By ensuring people feel encouraged and motivated to do well, progress can advance considerably for anyone who feels esteemed by positive comments and achievable goals. By creating realistic targets for people with autism, which are based on a thorough evaluation, a person can feel more confident through the recognition and development of the natural aptitudes of their personality.
For someone who has autism, this is incredibly important for them to feel a sense of accomplishment and the desire to further their abilities. The National Autistic Society states that many people who have autism struggle with verbal communication and therefore do not feel compelled to push themselves and progress in this proficiency. As a result of feeling of incompetent, the idea of trying something new is avoided even further. By practising how to overcome these scenarios, the sense of anxiety can be reduced. Eventually, people can acquire the ability to acknowledge new situations and set themselves higher goals that will support their overall wellbeing.
Empathy is a humans best route to understanding. By taking the time to think about how an individual with autism may see the world, it could potentially help you to unlock what may cause them anxiety as well as what may help them to communicate better. Those who are more successful in creating a trusting relationship with someone who has autism communicate in a relaxed, consistent, well humoured, logical and empathetic manner.
Environments should feel relaxed and well systematised to maintain a sense of focus and decrease the chance of distraction. This may include the level of volume in a room, smells, lighting, clear room layout and colour schemes. Any communications should remain clear enough so that they don’t overwhelm an individual. Some people with autism may need an increase of time to digest information, and this needs to be respected in any settings. Sensory rooms are used for those people who require extra support to feel calm. Each individual with autism will vary on this.
By viewing people with Autism and their support network as a unit, anyone who is significantly involved in their life such as parents, carers, siblings, teachers and medical professionals, should look to disperse information as a team to keep communications up. Parents should always be informed of all developments and situations, and are often viewed as partners. By keeping all involved on the same page, relevant information can flow, and any misinterpretations can be lessened.
Hopefully, this article has supported you in the understanding and the potential benefits of the National Autistic Society’s SPELL framework. If you would like more information about Autism, take a look at our article on Understanding Autism. Please take a look at our site for further information on our range of charity holidays for disabled people.
Spending time away from home overnight can initially feel like a daunting idea for both a parent and their child. However, a residential trip is an exciting time for a child to experience their first taste of independence. Residential trips are an opportunity to try new activities, make friends, grow in confidence and discover talents they may never have known they had outside of school! As an accessible site that provides school residential trips in Devon, we routinely witness the positive results of children experiencing our activity breaks. We have compiled some tips to help you to encourage your child to look forward to the week ahead if they are feeling nervous.
Begin by asking your child how they feel about the trip. Ask if there is something that they are worried about or a particular aspect of the residential they may not be looking forward to. It is healthy to help your child articulate any concerns into words if possible. By expressing their worries, it may release a lot of anxiety in itself. Areas they may feel anxious about are sleep arrangements, food and activities. Take the time to go through each worry and give reassurance by creating solutions together. Let them fully tell their story before offering comfort and express it is understandable for them to feel this way.
Create a List of Positives
Following the initial discussion, move the attention away from the initial concerns and create a list of all the possible positives to look forward to. Uncover together the activities your child is enthusiastic to try, the feelings they want to embrace and any scenarios they would like to laugh about.
Turn it into a Poster
After creating a fun and exciting lists of all the positives opportunities coming their way, form it into art! Create a poster of all the fun possibilities to help your child envision the positive outcomes of attending a residential trip. Not only will drawing it out help it sink in, but also the final product can be placed on a wall and used as a reminder of the exciting trip ahead!
‘Flip the Fear’
Natalie Costa, who is responsible for PowerThoughts.co.uk, has an excellent remedy to help encourage children to perceive worries from a different angle. Instead of using the words ‘nervous’, ‘worried’ and ‘anxious’ to describe the overall feeling towards the trip, insert ‘excited’ as a replacement. With the understanding that nervousness and excitement have incredibly similar physical responses, swapping nervous energy with positive energy can be an effective solution.
Look up the Location
The best way to feel more comfortable with a situation is to familiarise yourself. Look up the destination on Google and scroll through the area together. Have a look at pictures of the surrounding sites for your child to gauge what it will be like there. Discover anything the area is famous for and some landmarks to look out for on the journey there.
Arrange a Sleepover
Easing your child into understanding life with your temporary absence can be done through the organisation of a sleepover. This could be arranged at a friends house or grandparents. It will help your child to familiarise you not being there while encouraging fun with friends.
Create a List of Things to Take Together
Compile a list of things your child would like to take on the trip. If your child is going on the residential through a school trip, the school will most likely have a list of essential items to pack. Work with this, and re-write it together, so your child feels like they have some ownership over the experience. You can decide which exact items of clothing you will take and the benefits. A small cuddly toy as a mascot might be an excellent addition too!
After you have produced a list of items, pack them together too! It will help them to feel involved and gear them up for the event.
Imply the Idea of Independence
This may be your child’s first trip without you, which may be scary but is also an exciting introduction to independence. Talk about the trip and all the things they will be able to accomplish on their own. Explain how they will have inspiring stories for you to hear when they return, and you can’t wait.
The Calvert Trust Exmoor is dedicated to providing all residents with a supportive and enjoyable experience. For some inspiration on places to explore in the area, take a look at our blog Six of the Top Accessible National Trust Sites in Devon.
According to the National Autistic Society, an estimated 700,000 people may have the disorder; this can convert into a statistic of 1 in 100 of the population with autism. As autism is not one, but a range of disorders, it is referred to as ASD, which stands for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Wendy Chung has discussed how we have seen an increase in cases of ASD in more recent decades, and this may be a result of an improvement in diagnosis abilities. However, it may be challenging to diagnose, as there are many variations. In this article, we aim to help you understand what autism is and discuss the advantages of support for people with autism.
What is Autism?
Autism is a condition that affects the neurobehavioral aspects of a person. It is understood that people with autism generally have sensory sensitivity and this changes how they interpret their surroundings. It affects how senses are communicated to the brain and results in possible confusion. Their perception of the world, compared to someone who does not have the condition, may feel like a sensory overload. As a result, it can affect how they socially interact and communicate, therefore making connections and interactions more difficult. Everyday situations that may usually be viewed as comfortable can feel overwhelming for someone with autism. However, this can also mean that some people with autism find tasks that others find difficult, incredibly easy.
What are the Exterior Signs of Autism?
As there is a spectrum of autism, immediate diagnosis can be difficult. It is understood that signs of autism usually emerge by the age of three. It may not be apparent until a child reaches a year and half years old when difficulty in communication becomes noticeable. However, sometimes, signs are there from birth.
For others, it may not be until a change of environment in later life which triggers symptoms of autism to surface. This is because the new circumstance is beyond their competence, and it has never been previously probed. It is not unusual for an autistic person to go through life without a diagnosis.
The National Autistic Society website reveals that women, in particular, often go undiagnosed due to a variety of reasons. For example, ‘autism diagnosis tools’ are often based on male characteristics, as opposed to female, so they do not fit into the profile associated with autism when in review for diagnosis. Furthermore, it is suggested that women tend to ‘cover’ their struggles more so than men, leading them to go often undiagnosed.
However, adult diagnosis, much like a diagnosis in children, is increasing with a better understanding of the condition.
Common behaviours of autism include struggling with talking (especially about how they feel), being around others, and playing with other children. Repetition of words, movements, phrases, questions, and types of food are also indicators. The coping strategies at times of stress may differ to what you would expect and usually involve repetitious movements, such as rocking, hand movements and pacing. A fondness to particular objects is also a trait associated with autism. It is not unusual for people with autism to not observe other people or happenings around them. In more severe cases, children with autism may cultivate seizures which can arise during their teenage years.
What Difficulties do People with Autism Face?
As previously mentioned, people who have autism suffer sensitive senses which can be very uncomfortable, overwhelming and sometimes painful for them. It can be unclear for people around them as the cause for their discomfort may not be visible. Change is not received well by people who have autism and a change in routine can be extremely unsettling for them. In some cases, this level of discomfort can cause self-inflicting, harmful behaviours. Furthermore, the development of communication skills can be hindered, dependent on the level of autism. However, in some academic aspects, they may soar in their capabilities, such as music, drawing, maths and memory. The National Autistic Society has revealed that only one in six adults with autism have a job; this suggests that many people with autism struggle with independent living and responsibility in their adult lives. Support should make this a more achievable goal but may not be a viable outcome for all cases.
Why Are Diagnosis and Support Important for People Who Have Autism?
It is understood that early diagnosis of autism is enormously beneficial. Firstly, it creates awareness for themselves, their families, friends and other relationships about their situation and explains why certain behaviours may erupt. These surrounding people need to take the time and to understand the effects of autism. It has been reported that 34% of children with ASD feel that bullying is the worse part about going to school. This is a heart-breaking statistic which proves why the correct support and understanding can make a massive alteration to someone’s life, especially a child.
Our Devon activity breaks are a fantastic, inclusive opportunity for everyone to enjoy a safe space, accessible for all. Our programmes are specially arranged before arrival at the Calvert Trust Exmoor, which assists the transition of our guests to the new surroundings. In addition to this, we have a pictorial programme displayed throughout the stay, also designed to help ease transitions. For more information, take a look at our blog, How Can an Adventure Break Improve Confidence for a Disabled Child to discover more about the benefits of adventure holidays.