Play can consist of anything that you do to relax and have fun – this could be anything from sports or board games to reading and painting. This is an important part of life for everyone.
However, there are sometimes barriers that prevent us and many disabled children and their families from playing – from physical impairments to a lack of accessible play facilities or just simply a lack of time and support.
This is a story from one of our families about the barriers they face what Challengers has done to challenge them.
“So, there is me (mum), Lucy’s dad and big brother. Her brother lives away from home but has a great relationship with Lucy (pictured below) and without him it would have been hell. Lucy has Angelmans Syndrome and because of that she is very social. To look at Lucy you would not think there is anything wrong with her. It is only when you go to deal with her that you think ‘oh she can’t speak, you walk a bit funny’ – but if she was just sitting there or playing with a group of mainstream children you would never know. Lucy can walk but not that far as she walks with a bent leg and that is very painful for her, it tires her out and she only has 70% balance so you have to be careful.
Lucy was about 7 when she started at Challengers and she is now in her late teens.
Challengers has given Lucy independence – without that support it just would have been really hard. It has gotten slightly easier as she has gotten older as we have a routine but before Challenger it was just so hard. It would have been a real hard struggle and I do not think she would have progressed as much as she has. Socially, the staff talk to her, point things out, do activities, she progressed educationally without even realising it and the interaction from my aspect is terrific. They think they are just playing but they are not, it is pure education. The development has come on leaps and bounds since she came here.
It did not take her long to feel at home, she loves it and doesn’t even look back when I drop her off – she is just gone. The staff there are just amazing, I am sure she thinks all the older lads are her brother. She goes up to the team and says ‘you are fantastic!’ and gives them a hug!”
You can read more about how we challenge the barriers to play by viewing our Challengers Approach and Practical Approach. You can also find out more about the Social Model of Disability.