Camps Grow Ishan’s Independence
Trusting your 8-year old to someone else and letting them head off on a 3-day camp is a big step for any parent but when you’re the parent of a non-verbal child with autism, that step is more like a giant leap.
Sarah and her son Ishan (now 13) took that leap 5 years ago when Ishan first took part in Gateways Support Services’ (formerly Interchange Western) camp program for children with additional needs.
“It was a pretty scary thing to do. I didn’t have much support as a single mum and Ishan also has life threatening food allergies and asthma. I talked it all through with staff and was persuaded that it would work and it would be safe” said Sarah.
Since then Ishan is excited to go on camp every opportunity he gets. He’s developed social connections, friendships, been horse riding, visited the penguins and participated in a range of activities out in the community, which Sarah says were impossible for her to access on her own without skilled support.
“I can’t overstate how important the camps have been for Ishan and for us as a family. It’s been the most positive thing. Ishan has something especially for him which he enjoys and the continuity of camp groups has made it possible for him develop friendships. There’s an expectation on camp that he’s capable and this has really developed his independence.
It’s also given me time to focus on his sister and re-charge so I can be a better parent” Sarah said.
Gateways Support Services has quality accreditation and is an NDIS and DHHS registered disability service provider. Gateways provides Camp Programs for children, teenagers and adults with additional needs, including those with high needs. Camps provide an opportunity for intensive learning to develop social and life skills while being active out in the community.
Gateways has just released its April camps program. To find out more see the link below and search camps by age group. https://www.gateways.com.au/services/recreation/western-melbourne
Pictured: 13 year old Ishan with Gateways’ music therapy teacher, Andrea.