In Top Form!

This week, we held this Easter holiday’s multisport CADS event – four fully-inclusive days of fun and games, suitable for children of all abilities and disabilities. If you have followed news of our work with On Side on ‘A Level Playing Field’ then you’ll know that we are working to bring CADS events to even more children and young people across the country.

This inclusion is made possible in part thanks to our organisation’s specialist knowledge and adapted equipment. Our already accessible facilities and the years of experience at Seashell in meeting the complex communication, learning, physical, medical and behavioural needs of our students can be used to give even more children opportunities to dance, play, join in with sports and have fun.

Sometimes, making activities more inclusive means thinking creatively about how the activity is approached. Our climbing wall has always been hugely popular (so popular, in fact, we now hold a regular CADS climbing club during term time as well) and our adapted climbing equipment includes slings for wheelchair users who want to join in with climbing. For one young man with learning difficulties, there was no problem with the climbing wall itself or with the equipment but he was still struggling to reach the top. Staying focused on the task long enough to climb as high as he wanted was hard, and the staff supporting him realised that they needed to get creative in their approach.

Because he has a real passion for the sport, staff decided to fix rugby picture at regular intervals up the wall. He could approach the wall as a series of challenges, climbing a short distance to find the next picture, look at it, and move on to get the next picture until he reached the top!

It’s important to remember that the way we deliver activities is just as important for real inclusion as other factors like adapted equipment, staff training, an accessible building and so on. Flexibility, and staff taking the time to think about every young person as an individual, can go a long way – right to the top of the wall!

Sense's recent Case For Play Inquiry focused on the issue of play for children aged 0-5 with additional needs. Sadly, many of these children and their families are still facing significant barriers stopping them from accessing the same opportunities as other children. Their report is available on Sense's website here.

More information about CADS clubs and holiday events, as well as our Sports department, can be found here.