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.