Taking part in after school clubs is something most children take for granted. However, for children with Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND) it’s not as easy as turning up and getting stuck in. For Sarah, mum to 9-year-old brothers Fred and Charles, it can be hard to convince her boys to go along to activities.
“For my boys, it’s the social aspect, joining in.” Says Sarah. “For most after-school clubs it’s a ‘No’ and not a ‘No, I’ll think about it’, it’s a ‘No’.”
At Wave, we’re dedicated to providing sessions and activities suited to everyone, not just in our centres, but out in the community. Our outreach teams regularly provide motivating and exciting sessions as part of our Wave Active Schools Programme which includes breakfast, lunch and after school clubs both at school and in outdoor play areas. Fred and Charles regularly take part in Wave sessions at lunchtimes and have since come along to our SEND After School Club.
Learning About Water Filtration with Anna
Starting something new can be daunting for those with Special Educational Needs & Disabilities. That’s why we carefully research the kinds of activities and approaches we could use to ease participants into the sessions. Fred and Charles were familiar with session supervisor Anna through her other work at their school. After she told Sarah about the sessions and explained to the boys there would only be five children at each session with lots of people available to help, the boys started to consider it.
“Fred has particularly enjoyed the cricket from the Wave team. There were no other adults at school who could teach him that. It’s been really nurturing," says mum Sarah. "For Charles, he’s not so into sport, but he loves being hands on, actively doing things.”
Thanks to sessions tailored to accommodate those with SEND, over the last year Wave has seen 13,699 attendances at such activities, an increase of 4.5% from the previous year. Now that Fred and Charles are used to our activity sessions, they’ve become part of their daily routine. Where the boys used to want to go indoors as soon as school was over and straight to the television or iPad, now they play outside. Charles bounces on the trampoline and Fred improves his cricket skills with Sarah.
“Anna came to find me and said Fred is really good at cricket, so she’s suggested some other sessions," says Sarah. "There’s a lot of negativity around them sometimes because of their behaviours so for someone to tell Fred he was good at something really meant the world to him.”