Our unit helper, Fisherman, is a wheelchair user, mostly an electric wheelchair but on better days she will use a self propel chair as well.Last week, we were chatting and she mentioned a new show on Channel 4 about living with a disability and suggested doing some disability awareness activities with the Guides. This worked in really well as I had planned to get the Guides to write letters to Post Pals http://www.postpals.co.uk/find-pals/. They are a charity who work with kids who are long term ill and allows people the opportunity to send them letters to cheer them up.
Fisherman brought in some spare wheelchairs, a self propel and electric one and let the Guides have a go. She taught them how to use them and gave them wee challenges to do.
One of the women, Lark, who used to be in TSS is back from uni for the summer and offered her services for the last few weeks of term. She set up a station where the Guides tried tying their shoelaces with their hands in socks, we had 3 different thicknesses of socks to make it harder for them. This is similar to any condition which reduces coordination. It was fun to try but the Guides really understood how difficult life would be in that situation.
Next up, I ran an activity, where the Guides had to wrap a gift with one hand behind their back. We had feet, chins, noses and tongues involved but they all managed to wrap a gift, to various levels of neatness.
Barrel got hold of a Boccia set, its a bit like boules but is done from a seated position and the participant can use their hands, feet or a ramp to play their ball. It can be adapted to a lot of different abilities. The Guides had fun and it showed them that just because someone may be disabled, doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy sport.
Any downtime was filled with them writing letters and making bracelets to send to their Post Pals. They really struggled with knowing what to write, they thought it was mean to write about the fun things they were doing when it was possible that their Pal wouldn’t be able to do it. I explained that these kids are in hospital or home a lot and that hearing about the funny things they had been up to would cheer them up and make them smile.