Our first Autism Angels Family Fun Day of the season took place on Saturday the 8th of April. The sun was shining and the birds were singing. This was also the first Autism Angels Family Fun Day for some of our new volunteers who had been through their first training programme. The day started at 9am where we met and discussed our roles then everyone started to prepare for the families. Everyone was ready by 10.30 when our first family arrived.
After being shown around the property and, most importantly, where the refreshments are (cakes and biscuits which are mostly homemade by our wonderful volunteers), the families were introduced to the team and the horses. We started the day with a few fun games – the FREEZE game and RUN TO THE SPOT game. These break the ice and gets everyone joining in. Next, we taught the families to approach and lead the horses making sure everyone could stop, start and turn their horses. Once they could do this we then did some fun relay races with the ponies. This helps the children become more confident and independent around the horses, but it’s also essential to help them learn to set boundaries.
This rounded nicely off into lunch – we sat in the lovely courtyard with the sun shining brightly (who would have thought we would need sun cream at the beginning of April!)
After lunch the exciting part of the day was going out on a ride. The children were encouraged to discuss who was riding first, leading the horse, assisting in traffic control or walking one of the dogs. We find this helps with communication, sets out a definite picture for everyone and helps with expectations. We encourage parents to be part of this contracting as it is something they can take away and use in their everyday lives. The ride was a lovely leisurely ride with the children making the most of the different roles, watching their confidence grow was amazing. We believe that they are all extremely capable of anything. Whilst riding, one of the children kept slipping to one side – their parents (as you would expect) quickly supported them. This often results in them becoming quite dependant on another person for in this case their balance. The parents had to trust us when we encouraged them to remove their feet from the stirrups – this made them more aware of their own balance and they became straighter immediately. This was a break through moment for parents, volunteers and the rider – in a short space of time, trust had been established. The rider had been ENABLED to take responsible for their own balance and could consistently correct themselves whilst riding.
During the Autism Angels Family Fun Day we work with, and encourage the whole family to step into their power and learn some new things, or even step outside their comfort zones! We work towards the breakthroughs that can make a difference to everyone’s lives.
Sarah E x
If you are interested in joining us on one of our upcoming Family Fun Days please contact us on: