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Dan* is 16 years old and uses our Hounslow short breaks service. He communicates using a few words and vocalisations, as well as some key Makaton signs. His short breaks worker, Stephan talks about a recent trip to Go Ape and why short breaks like these are vital to young disabled people like Dan.
I have been supporting Dan since November 2016. Dan loves using public transport and planning his routes ahead of a short break. He enjoys going to the park, museums, the cinema and particularly shopping centres – where he likes taking photos of clothing and shoes. Earlier this year, Kids organised a joint trip to Go Ape (Battersea) with boys similar age to Dan and we all made out in one piece! Go Ape is an outdoor adventure company which runs Tree Top Adventures, Forest Segways, Tree Top Junior Adventures and Zip Trekking Adventures. Dan was able to use his phone to check bus times and find the right bus stop to get to Go Ape from the train station.
Go Ape involves having to wear a harness and launching yourself off wooden platforms, down zip wires and across obstacles, I was pretty nervous but Dan whizzed through the whole course with no fear considering it was his first time. Zip wiring to the finish line was so much fun and Dan’s favourite bit. He had a great time and even though I was petrified of heights, we would love to go back again. It was a lovely experience, sharing it with other young people and short break workers – an experience to remember.
It is experiences such as these that promote inclusion and positive behaviour in our young disabled people and empowering them to develop skills and independence. I believe short breaks and organised trips such as Go Ape contribute to the welfare of Dan, promoting his needs, including developmental, social and emotional needs. Dan’s mum was very pleased to see the photos from the day and said she would have not been to take Dan out to such an activity due to her own fears but was very grateful to know he was able to take part and enjoy the high rope experience. It was a great trip and was an experience that we will never forget. Thank you Kids and Go Ape!
*name has been changed