As disability and inclusivity awareness becomes more widespread, more and more people are starting to understand autism and the ways people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may behave differently from neurotypical individuals. However, there are still many misconceptions associated with the disorder.
The National Autistic Society estimates that there are around 700,000 people in the UK who are on the autism spectrum. Like any other group, people with ASD are not a monolith, so understanding autism comes with understanding that everyone is unique.
As a provider of accessible holidays in Devon, we’ve welcomed many guests with autism – we know how important it is that we all do our best to be understanding of others and support people that society has historically neglected.
What is Autism?
Autism, or ASD, refers to a range of conditions that affect people differently. Autistic individuals may interpret the world differently than a neurotypical person, resulting in them finding it difficult to communicate, experiencing sensory overload or exhibiting restrictive behaviours, among other characteristics.
How these behaviours impact a person’s daily life will depend on the individual. There is no one way to be autistic.
Some people may have other conditions as well as ASD, including anxiety, depression and ADHD.
What are the Signs of Autism?
Autism is considered an invisible disability – you cannot tell by looking at someone if they are autistic or not. Because autism is a spectrum, diagnosis can also be challenging sometimes, with some people going through life without ever receiving a formal diagnosis.
Some people may exhibit all the typical symptoms of autism, while others may experience one or two.
Communication & Social Interaction
Some people with autism can find it difficult to understand others’ verbal communication and non-verbal gestures. They may struggle to interpret sarcasm or figures of speech and have limited or no speech themselves. Children with autism especially may repeat what others have said to them again and again – this is known as echolalia.
Some can also find it difficult to understand how people are feeling, making it harder to form connections. Because they do not always understand unwritten social rules neotropical people have more easily learnt, people with autism can sometimes be perceived as rude or ‘strange’.
Another common characteristic various autistic people may share is over or under-sensitivity to different stimuli. Certain sounds, smells, tastes, tactile experiences and light can be uncomfortable, causing stress, anxiety or even physical pain.
Stimuli that are too intense may cause some people to avoid everyday situations like shopping in a busy supermarket or travelling on the bus. Being exposed to too many stimuli may cause sensory overload or a meltdown.
Dedicated spaces like sensory rooms are designed to help soothe anxiety prompted by sensory overload and encourage more controlled sensory experiences.
Many people on the autism spectrum show special interest in a particular topic or hobby, becoming experts in their interest and putting a lot of time and focus into it. Special interests can change throughout a person’s life, while others may pursue theirs as part of their career.
For some people, special interests can stray into becoming obsessions, causing them to neglect other parts of their lives to remain highly focused on their interests.
Routines and repetitive behaviours can help provide some structure and predictability to help navigate what can often be a confusing world. Some people may exhibit repetitive movements like rocking or hand flapping to help calm down when anxious or simply because they find the repetitive sensation enjoyable.
When an autistic person becomes too overwhelmed, they may experience a meltdown or shutdown. The former often presents as a loss of control, with some lashing out or shouting. A shutdown can also stem from feelings of being overwhelmed but may seem more passive from the outside, with the person becoming closed off.
Both can be frustrating and exhausting for the person experiencing them.
Wrongful Assumptions About Autism
Like other conditions that lie outside of the ‘norm’, autism has been subject to a number of falsehoods and untrue perceptions over the years. It is important that we continue to break down the stigma surrounding ASD and the associated behaviours to make wider society more inclusive for everyone.
Autism is not an illness, and there is no ‘cure’ – people born with autism are autistic for life. Just because someone is autistic, it does not mean they cannot do certain things. While some may need various kinds of support at times, being autistic does not stop you from leading a well-rounded life.
It is not known what causes autism or even if there is a ‘cause’. Autism is not caused by vaccines.
How to Support People With Autism
Support can come in many forms, whether you further educate yourself to better understand the people with ASD in your life or champion autistic voices. If you’re not sure whether your help is needed or wanted, simply ask the people it concerns.
Activities to Support People with Autism
Receptive toys and sensory activities can be valuable for both children and adults with autism. This might include smaller-scale activities like painting or cooking or involve more energetic things like accessible outdoor adventure activities.
At Calvert Exmoor, we’ve seen firsthand how spending time outdoors can benefit people with autism, especially when combined with a range of activities that are designed to intrigue the senses. Things like archery, bushcraft, climbing and zip lining are all wonderfully tactile, sensory experiences.
Everyone deserves the chance to take a break and enjoy new experiences. However, going on holiday and changing the routine can be difficult for some people. Dedicated autism-friendly holidays are designed to support people with autism and meet their needs, ensuring they can have a relaxing and enjoyable time away.
Our autism-friendly holidays in Devon revolve around a host of adventure activities based at our autism-friendly site and accessible facilities. We always keep inclusivity and accessibility in mind to ensure that everyone can enjoy the thrills of an activity break.
To find out more about how we make our holidays accessible to all or to organise a trip, please get in touch.
Where you choose to stay while on holiday depends on a number of factors, with location, proximity to attractions, general amenities and budget being top considerations. But, for many people with disabilities, the right holiday accommodation can hinge on accessibility.
When seeking accessible accommodation, there are several things to look out for to ensure you book somewhere that will cater to your needs and offer everything else you want from a holiday away.
As a provider of holidays for people with disabilities in Devon, we understand how important it is that all guests feel welcome and cared for. Here are some of our top tips for finding genuinely accessible holiday accommodation, no matter what kind of adventure you want to embark on.
First things first, how easy is it to get into your holiday cottage or room via the initial doorways and entrances? Check that all entrances and exits are easily manoeuvrable with ramps and handrails.
Lift access is another thing to look out for.
Doors should allow for easy operation for all guests, not being too heavy or using handles that are hard to grip. Also see if the accommodation is equipped with automatic doors.
Hallways & Passages Between Rooms
The width of hallways, doors and passages will also affect how easy it is to move around and navigate the space. Look out for accommodation that has clear, open passageways that are free of too much obstructive furniture.
Stair lifts and handrails along stairs are another good feature to look out for to see if accommodation providers are thinking about levels of accessibility.
Whether you’re booking an accessible room or renting a holiday cottage, clutter-free spaces should be a given. When looking at pictures of the accommodation, consider the layout of furniture and other items – is there anything that may restrict your mobility or pose a risk to you?
The ability to ask to move furniture upon request is another good marker to check for.
Is there enough suitable lighting installed around the space, and is it easily adjustable? Look out for good outdoor lighting too, checking that accessing doors or making the journey to and from the car is possible and safe, especially in the dark.
Accessible accommodation should always ensure that any appliances are easy to reach and easy to operate. Consider whether there are any handrails or supports on the side of countertops.
Is the height of the bed suitable and will there be enough support for you when getting in and out? Check if there are any rooms that offer electric beds or hoists that would make your stay as comfortable as possible.
Accessible Bathrooms & Wet Rooms
Rooms with en-suite bathrooms can be especially useful. Query whether your potential accommodation offers bathrooms with no-slip mats, handrails, showers seats or walk-in showers.
Offering a wet room rather than a bath can also indicate how much a provider is thinking about accessibility.
Accessible Car Parks or Drop Off Points
Another basic essential includes accessible car parks or drop-off points that are within close proximity to main entrances. Also consider whether outdoor paths and routes are even and easy for you to traverse.
Clear Safety Procedures for Guests With Disabilities
Sufficiently planned safety procedures are the bare minimum for a place you are putting your trust in. However, some accommodation might not be clear about the specific emergency measures in place for guests with disabilities.
Before booking, check any information on the provider’s website or get in touch with their staff about the current safety procedures and whether your needs in the event of an emergency have been considered.
Accessible Holiday Amenities
A relaxing dip in the hot tub or pool is just one of the delights you’re able to enjoy on a trip away. So you want to make sure accommodation that offers this luxury is able to offer it to everyone. Check whether they have hoists or systems in place to assist with accessible swimming or bathing.
An accessibility statement will detail a site’s features and facilities to help you determine whether it meets your needs. We always recommend you review this document when booking a stay to see if everything the accommodation says it offers is in line with your expectations and requirements.
The statement will give you a good overview of the site’s accessibility in its entirety, highlighting everything we’ve covered above and more.
Accommodation at Calvert Exmoor
Here at Calvert Exmoor, we are dedicated to ensuring everyone that stays with us has a comfortable, enjoyable and stress-free stay. Our accessible accommodation caters to a range of abilities, with adaptive equipment to help provide the right support.
You can find out more about our different rooms and accommodation options with our Calvert Exmoor accommodation guide.
If you have any questions about staying with us or would like to talk about booking an accessible adventure holiday, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Calvert Exmoor team.
For those unfamiliar with sign language, it is not uncommon to assume that there is only one universal signing system. However, this is not the case. It is believed that anywhere between 138 to 300 distinct forms of sign language are currently used worldwide.
Here at Calvert Exmoor, we understand how vital different forms of communication are for human connection in general. No matter your level of ability, learning about sign languages could be life-changing for many people.
Why is Sign Language Important?
Sign language is a language system used mainly by those who have hearing impairments or are deaf. It is essential that this form of communication exists as people with hearing impairments can experience social isolation due to their disability.
Unlike the spoken word, where verbal speech is the main form of interaction, sign language uses the below as the primary ways of communicating:
- Body language
- Facial expressions
Other Ways of Including People With Hearing Impairments
As mentioned above, people with hearing impairments often experience significant isolation. Communication through touch and sight are key aspects of inclusion and can be explored in other ways than sign language.
For example, at Calvert Exmoor, we offer many accessible activities for deaf and hard of hearing guests that provide excellent opportunities for interacting with sense of sight or touch. Some of these opportunities include:
- Adaptive cycling
- Horse riding
- Zip wiring
Guests can expect a focused, attentive approach from our fully-qualified instructors during their stay. Many more exhilarating and deaf-friendly activities are available to encourage social inclusion for a loved one.
Why Are There So Many Forms of Sign Language?
Similar to verbal language, ways of accessible communication develop within cultures and groups of people unique to the area they live in. Therefore, these interactions will be different between communities.
Most sign language systems don’t align with the spoken languages of the environment and tend to be separate language systems.
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 in that they verbally speak in English, although minute differences exist, for example, the difference between sidewalk and pavement.
However, ASL and BSL share some significant differences as they are in different areas of the world.
How Sign Language is Developed
It is not unusual for 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 bear 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 what is now known as the American School for the Deaf.
Regional Variations of Sign Language
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, where sign language varies 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)
- BSL taught through spoken Welsh
- Irish Sign Language (ISL)
- Sign Supported English (SSE)
We go into more detail about these variations below.
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 by around 151,000 people in favour of other sign languages.
According to the BSL website, BSL has its own syntax and grammatical structure unrelated to the English spoken language.
In 2003, the government officially regarded BSL as a minority language after a thorough campaign. As a result, according to the BSL website, awareness of deaf communications has increased, and BSL is recognised in the same way other minority languages are, such as Welsh and Gaelic.
If you want 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 is a project by Mudiad Meithrin in Wales, which is prepared to teach young students BSL 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.
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 gendered sign language. Due to some male and female schools being separate in Ireland, ISL has diverged into two different sign languages.
There is heavy debate within Irish deaf communities regarding the dominance of men’s sign language, and, like with most forms of language, it is likely to evolve.
Sign Supported English (SSE)
Sign Supported English (SSE) 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 grammatical order as spoken English.
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.
Why is Makaton Important?
Makaton makes use of graphic symbols, hand signs and spoken language as support for those who may need assistance with communication or have learning difficulties. It could assist the learning development of someone who has down syndrome, a neurological disorder or language impairment, for example.
We actually have more guests who use Makaton than we do BSL at Calvert Exmoor, so our staff have training in and experience with this unique method of communication.
If you require more information about the adventure breaks we offer and are interested in our holidays for deaf adults, please feel free to contact us on 01598 763221 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to have an adventure in the great outdoors, then orienteering is the sport for you! Whether you want to go on an exciting escapade through the wilderness or just get to grips with using a map, there are plenty of ways to experience orienteering.
While something like orienteering might initially seem inaccessible, there are many ways it can be adapted to suit the needs of each individual taking part. At Calvert Exmoor, we endeavour to make all our adventure activities accessible to all, ensuring that no matter your ability, you can enjoy a wide range of exhilarating outdoor experiences.
What is Orienteering
Orienteering is an activity where you find specific markers or checkpoints using a map and compass.
There is no set course, and the aim is to make your way to each point on the map, figuring out the best route as you go. Deciding how to get from A to B in the best way is all part of the challenge and fun of orienteering; it is something that takes concentration, practice and skill.
In competitive orienteering, the aim is to find each marker (a square made of a white and orange triangle) in the fastest time. If you’re just taking part for fun, it’s all about the journey you make and the skills you pick up along the way.
The Benefits of Orienteering For People with Disabilities
Our adventure breaks encourage people with different disabilities to enjoy the benefits of spending time outdoors doing exciting activities. Orienteering is a wonderfully adaptive activity that allows you to take things at your own pace and appreciate the natural world around you.
Most of the time, orienteering will take place outdoors, and you’ll explore trails and moorland or woodland paths. So long as you ensure the route and surrounding area is accessible, there is no reason why everyone cannot have a go at this sport.
Benefits of orienteering include:
- Spending time outdoors, which can improve health and wellbeing.
- Providing an opportunity to exercise, improve physical fitness, coordination and stamina.
- Learning how to map read and use a compass, which encourages you to focus on a goal and concentrate.
- Bonding with others and improving communication skills.
Safety Considerations When Orienteering
We wouldn’t recommend orienteering alone, especially for those who haven’t done it before. Instead, treat it as a group activity where everyone can contribute to the quest as you figure out where to go next as a team.
Everyone can contribute to the activity by recognising map colours, using the compass or looking out for buildings and features.
How is Orienteering Adapted for People with Disabilities?
Trail Orienteering, or TrailO, is a version of competitive orienteering that ensures people of all abilities can participate. This form of the sport is designed to reduce the physical components of orienteering, with a greater focus on the puzzle-solving aspect, making it more accessible to wheelchair users and those with limited mobility.
Unlike other forms of orienteering, there is a set route to follow, as shown on a map. The challenge is to find the right markers, among many.
Participants use map reading and navigational skills to complete the course and find the correct markers as they go along. Several markers can be found at a site, but only one will exactly match the description and position.
Orienteering at Calvert Exmoor
Orienteering is one of the many exciting activities we offer as part of the Calvert experience. The sport is a great way of exploring the trails around our accessible site and encourages guests to enjoy spending time outdoors.
We have a range of fun ‘themed’ markers around the site for guests to find as they learn how to navigate and map read. This offers a great opportunity for guests to work together, develop friendships and work on their problem-solving skills.
Guests are also welcome to ask reception staff or instructors to do orienteering in their own time as our trails are safe and easily navigable.
Expert Orienteering Tips for Beginners
So you like the sound of orienteering but don’t know where to start?
Back in 2020, Sam, one of our activity instructors, gave his top tips for those that want to have a go at orienteering and enjoying the great outdoors in this exciting way.
1. Use Your Map & Compass
“Figure out where on the map you are before going anywhere. Often the starting point is identified on an orienteering map, but if not, you can do this by looking around you.
Roads or paths marked on the map that lead north are a great way to identify your location, perhaps things like a split in the path with one route going north. Check your compass to make sure.
I like to orientate the map, so the path I am currently on is in line with where I am going; this might mean turning the map so the path points in the same direction of travel. Make sure to keep north in mind and to turn the map northwards are regular intervals.”
2. Plan Your Route
“Pick the first point you have been tasked to find, and before moving off, plan where you are going. It is a good idea to visualise where you will be going at all times. I find identifying a shape useful. For example, if you know the overall route is a rough circle, then most of the turnings will bear in the same direction.
Say to yourself and the other people in your group things like ‘OK so we take this path, then a left, and after some distance, we should see a gate’ as you go along.”
3. Keep Locating Yourself on the Map
“A control point or marker is great for confirming your location. Once you have found and confirmed it, you will be able to say with certainty where you are on the map. You can then use your compass to orientate yourself in the direction of the next control point and plan the next leg accordingly.
However, it’s very important to check that the point you have found is the correct one. It’s easy to see a marker on the way to another and then assume your position, which could cause navigation errors or make you lose your place on the map.
Relocation – finding your position on the map if lost – is not simple and can seem scary. Often there is no single way to relocate your position on the map straight away, so continue onwards until you can find features that you can relate to on the map.”
4. Use Your Surroundings to Your Advantage
“Landmarks; buildings, roads, hills and lakes are obvious features both on the map and when looking around that can help guide you in the right direction.
‘Line’ features (paths or fences) visible on the map can be followed or used to orientate yourself in a direction.
This is useful in relocating yourself if you have gone wrong and are lost.
Again communicate with each other and ensure you have shared goals as you travel: ‘We need to keep this hill on our left-hand side as we cross this field’ or ‘the next marker should be on the other side of that stream’ and so on.”
5. Figure Out Distances
“It is very easy to overshoot and miss a set point or marker, especially early on when excitement and energy levels are high.
If you know the next point is, say, 100m along the path, then keep this in mind, and if you feel you have gone farther, then you might well have missed it and gone too far. Time to turn around and relocate!”
Anyone can enjoy orienteering and all the benefits it can bring! If you or someone you know is interested in our orienteering activities or any of our other accessible adventure activities, why not book a break with us a Calvert Exmoor?
If you have any questions about booking an adventure holiday with us, please get in touch with our fantastic 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.
Going away on an adventure is always exciting no matter your age – whether your child is venturing on a school residential trip or you and your family are planning an accessible holiday, there’s a lot to look forward to.
But before the excitement can begin, you’ll need to think about preparing for the trip and organising everything that needs to be packed.
Preparing for an Accessible Activity Holiday
The accessible adventure breaks we offer here at Calvert Exmoor are designed to be enjoyed by everyone; we are dedicated to ensuring all our guests can take part in a diverse range of exciting, accessible activities and, most importantly, have a brilliant time!
While a stay with us is all about having a go at things you might never have done before (and having loads of fun), we understand that some guests may be anxious about their stay and unsure of what to expect.
Making sure you have everything you need for your journey and holiday is a practical way to temper some of this wariness to ensure you can focus on making memories and trying out new activities.
We’ve provided a basic holiday packing list and some additional preparation tips to help you stay organised for your time away.
To get more of a sense of what to expect from a break with us, you can read our guide to weekend breaks at Calvert Exmoor.
Packing List for Accessible Adventure Holidays
Many of our activities take place in the great outdoors, so it’s important to take this into account when deciding what to bring along.
There might be a couple of essential everyday items that you’ll need to pack, but it isn’t necessary to go out and get a whole new wardrobe for the different activities you’ll be doing!
So, what will you need?
Appropriate Shoes & Footwear
You’ll likely need a couple of pairs of shoes to suit the different activities you’ll be taking part in. We recommend considering:
- Durable shoes: Walking boots or Wellington boots are ideal for exploring outside, especially where it’s wet or muddy.
- Trainers: You may need a couple of pairs, including backup trainers, for when you do water-based activities.
- Sturdy shoes: Boots or shoes with a small heel are necessary when horse riding, so consider this if you’re looking to participate in the activity.
- Waterproof jacket or coat: This will keep you dry and warm throughout your adventure.
- Waterproof trousers: These might not be absolutely essential but will come in very handy if the weather takes a turn, or you just want to feel more prepared.
- Trousers: Tracksuit bottoms or comfortable trousers are ideal – jeans will be less comfortable when taking part in activities. You may also want to bring shorts if that’s what you prefer but note that full-length trousers are mandatory if you’re horse riding.
- Jumpers and T-shirts: You’ll likely want a couple of thin layers, so you can bundle up when cold but easily take off layers when you get warmer.
- Casual clothes and sleepwear: Practical clothing is best for when you’re out and about doing activities, but when you relax in the evenings, you may want to change into more comfortable clothes.
- Socks and underwear: Remember to bring plenty to last for the duration of your trip!
- Swimwear: You’ll need this for swimming in the pool and for any other water-based activities. Goggles can also be useful, and you’ll need a couple of towels too.
The British weather can be more than a little temperamental, so it’s often best to pack for a couple of eventualities.
Before you set out on your trip, looking up the weather forecast will give you an idea on which items to prioritise. Weather-specific items that you’ll need to consider include:
- Waterproofs: These will keep you dry and comfortable.
- Sun protection: If the sun makes an appearance, you’ll probably want a hat or cap, sunglasses and plenty of sun cream.
- Cold weather clothing: If the weather’s going to be a little chiller, you might want to bring along a woolly hat, scarf and gloves.
Remember to Pack Toiletries
Aside from clothing, you’ll need to pack a bag of everyday hygiene items and toiletries, including things like:
- Soap or shower gel
- Shampoo & conditioner
- Towels & flannels
- Toothbrush & toothpaste
- Hair ties & clips
- Comb or hairbrush
- Feminine hygiene products
Specialist Personal Equipment
While we have a wide range of accessible equipment here at Calvert Exmoor, to make your stay as comfortable as possible, you may want to bring along any specialist personal equipment in order to ensure that you have everything you need to feel relaxed during your stay.
This could include items such as wheelchairs, hearing aids or any specific medical equipment; whatever you need to feel at ease, we’d encourage you to pack it.
Holiday Packing Advice
If you’re worried about forgetting anything, making a physical packing list to tick off the items can be helpful – this will also help ensure you or your child don’t forget anything when returning home.
Adding labels to your personal items and clothing may also be useful, especially for younger adventurers.
If you’re packing things like phones or cameras, remember to take their chargers and perhaps a secure bag to ensure they’re kept safe over your stay. Books and journals can also be great things to bring along for when you have a quiet moment in the evenings and you want to reflect on the adventures and activities you’ve enjoyed during your stay.
If there’s anything else that you can’t go without during your day-to-day routine, remember to pack this too – there’s no reason why you can’t be as comfortable as possible when you book an accessible trip away.
Once you’ve packed your bags, you’re all set to enjoy your break with us!
If you’d like to find out more about our accessible outdoor activity holidays, whether for families, schools or other groups, please get in touch with the Calvert Exmoor team.
How Can SPELL Support People With Autism?
Life for people with autism can be made more challenging by an exclusive society. Many people with autism may communicate in different ways from neurotypical individuals, which can put them on the periphery of wider society when others are not correctly educated about different methods of communication.
At Calvert Trust Exmoor, we are dedicated to making the world a more welcoming place for all. Our inclusive and adaptive activity holidays for people with disabilities cater to people of all ages and abilities, including those on the autistic spectrum.
Learning about frameworks like SPELL is just one useful place to start when considering how to better understand and respond to people with autism. What are the benefits of SPELL, and how can the structure support communications for people with autism?
What is the SPELL Framework?
Developed by the National Autistic Society, SPELL is a guideline that can help those interacting with people with autism recognise someone’s individual needs and understand how to best meet these needs. There are five elements that go into creating the framework:
- Positive Approaches and Expectations
- Low Arousal
How to Support an a Person With Autism
Using SPELL provides a useful baseline when it comes to supporting people with autism. The guidelines it gives can be adapted for people of all ages.
The five principles focus on assessing the unique needs of individuals with autism and explore the ways we can change our environments to make communication more accessible and effective. How can each element support people with autism?
Many people with autism may struggle with change or unpredictability, so providing structure can be hugely beneficial.
A sense of structure can give individuals more independence and confidence as they’ll know what to expect from a situation or person. Facilitating structure, stability and routine that is catered to individuals can reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.
Positive Approaches & Expectation
This element focuses on building self-esteem and confidence through focusing on interests and strengths and building goals around these positive attributes.
Creating realistic targets that take into account the barriers an individual might face helps support development. Many people with autism may struggle with trying new experiences, but a structure of positive encouragement can help support progress.
As individuals progress, they can start setting higher goals that will support their overall well-being.
When a neurotypical person communicates with someone with autism, empathy can be a helpful tool. Seeing the world from their perspective may help you understand their reactions to certain things and what you can do to help improve the environment or reduce stressors.
Developing successful relationships will often come down to communicating in a consistent, logical and empathetic manner.
Different people will be able to deal with different levels of stimulus, so consider how the environment might affect a person with autism. Environments should be ordered and free of distractions to help keep communication relaxed and clear.
Some may need more time and focus to digest information, so keep control of any input to avoid a chaotic environment. Remain aware of noise, light, colours, smells and anything else in the environment that might cause a sensory overload.
This point refers to the importance of communicating with people with autism and the other people in their life, whether this means family, friends or caregivers.
Considering this support network as a unit helps avoid any instances of miscommunication or a fragmented approach. By keeping all involved on the same page, relevant information can flow more effectively.
Understanding and Responding to Autism
With this framework, hopefully, caregivers and others who interact with people with autism can gain a better understanding of the most productive ways to communicate with and support them.
It should be noted that everyone is different and will have different needs, so tailor your approach to them rather than following the framework blindly.
If you are or you know a someone with autism who would love to take on a new adventure at our autism-friendly activity centre, why not get in touch to find out more about our activities and opportunities?
How to Make the Most of Your Adventure Holiday
Adventure holidays that are packed with activities and fun experiences can feel like a whirlwind. Amidst all the excitement, there are various things you can do to make the most of your break and have the best time possible.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, our activity holidays for disabled people provide lots of opportunities to learn new things and create some wonderful memories! We share our top tips for embracing your time spent on an adventure holiday and making the most of all the new experiences.
Before any kind of holiday or adventure away from home, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared for everything to come.
Make sure you think about what you’ll need to pack for your activity holiday and how much. You’ll need to consider the best kinds of clothes for adventuring and be prepared for whatever the weather throws at you with both waterproofs and suncream.
It can also help to find out what to expect from the activities you’ll be doing and where you’ll be staying. Knowing what to expect before arriving can reduce any nerves, helping to grow feelings of excitement and anticipation instead!
You can read more about what to expect on a weekend break at Calvert Exmoor with our handy guide.
Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things
Going on an adventure is all about getting out of your comfort zone and finding new things you didn’t know you could do or enjoy before.
At Calvert Trust Exmoor, we offer a wide range of accessible activities that will probably be totally new to you and our other guests. Having some anxiety before trying something like abseiling or canoeing is normal, but overcoming fears can be a great motivating force, helping to boost your overall experience.
Make Friends and Embrace the Social Aspect
Embarking on an adventure holiday where lots of other guests are also taking part in the activities can be an excellent opportunity for making friends and building up some social confidence.
Try to have fun with the others who are trying out the activities – you’re sharing these unique experiences together, and the friends you make and memories you share can end up being one of the most memorable parts of the holiday!
To make the most of this social aspect of an adventure break, check out our blog below:
Enjoy the Local Scenery!
When on holiday, you are also given the opportunity to enjoy the local scenery and escape to locations different from everyday life. Adventure breaks are great for celebrating the outdoors and taking in all that nature has to offer.
At Calvert Trust Exmoor, we are lucky enough to be situated in a stunning location, surrounded by countryside views on the edge of Exmoor’s National Park – there are plenty of chances to enjoy the local scenery here!
Take a look at some of our favourite accessible beaches in North Devon to see what we mean.
Ultimately, making the most of an activity break comes down to letting yourself be present, having fun and enjoying your adventure!
To find out more about the Calvert Experience and the exciting opportunities offered by our accessible holidays, you can get in touch by calling 01598 763221 or emailing us at email@example.com.
How an Adventure Break can Help You Set Goals
Embarking on new challenges through disability adventure activities can be a great way to help you set and achieve your goals.
Whether your goals are oriented around overcoming fears or focus on pushing yourself to try something new, getting involved in exciting adventure activities can help anyone reach their full potential.
When surrounded by support and encouragement, new accomplishments can be achieved in no time!
The Benefits of Setting Goals
Setting clear goals is one of the best ways to help you make positive changes in your life. It helps you look to the future and make plans about what you want to improve or overcome.
Thinking about your goals, whether they are long or short term, also gives you an opportunity to reflect on yourself, thinking about your feelings and aspirations. It will prompt you to really think about what you want to do and how you can make it happen.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we’re dedicated to supporting our guests as they work towards their goals on their adventure break. With unique, accessible experiences, we are always striving to help everyone achieve their full potential!
Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone
A goal is something you have to work towards. It will likely be a challenge, but the sense of the achievement you will gain when you reach it will be more than worth it!
When taking part in an adventure activity, you might find yourself leaving your comfort zone a little bit. This can be nerve-wracking, but it’s also a good thing!
It will allow you to work towards any goal, big or small, and prompt you to gain new experiences that you might not have had if you hadn’t pushed yourself slightly.
This point goes hand-in-hand with the idea of getting out of your comfort zone.
One of the biggest obstacles to overcome when setting goals is the fear that comes with thinking you can’t achieve your goals or when you are too nervous to try.
An adventure break can really help when it comes to building general confidence and showing you you’re capable of much more than you thought possible!
Our friendly team at Calvert Trust will support you when building your confidence as you participate in a range of exciting outdoor activities.
Learning Something New
When you try a new activity, there’s always something to be learnt from it. An adventure break is full of great, new experiences that might help you think about what kind of future goals you want to set or what you want to try next time.
When you do something you’ve never done before, you’ll learn things about yourself and the others around you, giving you a fresh perspective!
If you want to find out more about our adventure breaks and the exciting experiences we offer, please get in touch today. You can speak to one of our team members by calling 01598 763221 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing is essential as a carer. It may feel challenging because much of your time is devoted to caring for a loved one. However, it is beneficial for both you and the person you are looking after to treat yourself with appreciation.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we provide outdoor adventure activities in Devon for people of all ages and abilities. We support and encourage all our guests in a safe environment in trying new experiences. In our blog, we offer our advice on the importance of taking the time to support your mental health.
Being Appreciative and Understanding Of Yourself
Understanding that you are only human is important in accepting that you can only do so much as one individual.
Acknowledge the things you can do to care for your loved one and try to identify areas where you could use some support.
It is also essential to not compare your responsibilities and feelings to other carers in a similar position. They are not you, and each circumstance will be different. Each situation will have its challenges that people outside of it may not know about or understand.
Finding Someone to Talk To
Having a listening ear that you genuinely trust can help significantly if you feel like you are struggling as a carer. The person you share your thoughts with might be another family member, a friend, or you may prefer to discuss your feelings with someone who is not familiar with your circumstances, such as a counsellor.
There is no right or wrong person to speak to, as long as you feel like you can open up to them. Talking through how you feel can help you to work out how to manage any difficult emotions. Sharing how much you do as a carer can also help others understand how they could offer additional support.
Talking might also relieve any feelings of isolation. With the responsibility of care on your shoulders, it can help you to change your perspective. If things feel like they are too much, you should try and speak to someone as soon as possible.
Making Time For Yourself
This can be hard if you feel overwhelmed by responsibilities as a carer, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. If you find that you don’t have sufficient time for yourself, working out how you can should be a priority.
One or two hours a day might help you to maintain your mental health at a healthy level. It can give you time to do something for yourself, such as exercising, socialising, or simply taking a relaxing bath. Small and consistent things to look forward to can be very uplifting as well as motivational.
Prioritising the Basics
Keeping on top of the basics is an essential part of managing your mental wellbeing. Ensuring you are getting the required amount of sleep, a healthy diet and enough exercise can all positively contribute.
Family time is an integral part of anyone’s life, and enjoying an activity holiday altogether can be just what you need. Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we provide accessible holidays for everyone to enjoy and ensure that all our guests are supported in our activities. Why not browse our site to discover more about the holidays we provide or speak to one of our team today for more information calling 01598 763221. You can also email email@example.com