Dad Peter tells us about his son William who attends Challengers in Kingston and the positive impact this has on the family.
William is six years old and has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). He started to attend the Kingston Playscheme in March 2021, and his younger brother Conan has joined him since on weekend sessions, giving myself and my wife Chloe some much needed respite.
William likes everything to do with Challengers – he just loves to play! He’s very active and engages in indoor and outdoor activities. He’s essentially non-verbal, so any response can be garnered from whether or not he’s happy when he knows it’s Challengers day – which he always is! Conan can be a bit more apprehensive but settles after several minutes and really enjoys playing there – he especially likes to play with the costumes.
For our family, it means the world to have the support that Challengers provides us. Our biggest hurdle as a family is that we never have any time for themselves. We have no support network or family in the area, so our associations are all from other parents at schools and nurseries.
Life without Challengers would make it a lot more stressful for us as parents, as we both have to work and can never get time off for ourselves, especially not together – so when Challengers said they could support both William and Conan it was a HUGE sense of joy and mental relief!
The first time our boys attended Challengers together, we just had no idea what to do with ourselves! We walked around Kingston aimlessly for the first couple of hours as having ‘free time’ without care responsibilities was a totally new experience for us both. We went to Greggs for sausage rolls, sat and had a think, and then decided that in future that we’d plan our activities in advance to enjoy our new-found freedom.
Now we typically do a combination of me time and us time, so for half the time we each do our own thing – whether it’s exercise, working on home projects, and then we take some time together to have lunch or go for a walk. We never venture far from Kingston as we always want to be within about 20 minutes just in case the boys are unhappy, but so far, they’ve been happy every time which is such a big relief!
Honestly, we cannot thank Challengers enough for everything they do for our family.