The target audience of teenagers from around Dykehouse in Hartlepool are not a sporty or active bunch, but by listening to their ideas, the coaches at Run Fit have provided sessions that capture their interest.
The children wanted to choose varied activities and didn’t necessarily want to focus on point scoring. They wanted to take part in a Sports Hall or other indoor environment – away from mocking comments of their ‘sportier peers’.
Hamish was diagnosed with Autism in 2009 at the age of 4. One of his main areas of difficulty is in social interaction. Sport was definitely not on his radar.
As his Mum Alison explains.
“He was not interested at all. He hated team sports as he struggles to cope with losing and preferred to play computer games.”
Knowing the health benefits of physical activity Alison was keen to find an activity that could suit Hamish.
“I saw a post about Run Fit Rabble on Facebook and thought it sounded worth a try as it seemed to be aimed at ‘non-sporty’ kids like him. I contacted the organisers to see if it would be suitable for Hamish and I was assured his autism was not a problem. It took some persuasion and I think Hamish eventually agreed to go to shut me up!”
Integrating into the sessions was not an easy process for Hamish or for the coaches of the activity. However once they got a better understanding of his needs and motivations Hamish was able to be a part of the group.
Session leader Nina Bedding gives some insight to this
“Hamish still does not like losing. However, the wider group manage this now and he responds well to them.
One of the most rewarding things for us as coaches has been witnessing the participants adapting to the needs of others in the group. They will stop games and specifically make sure that Hamish is included. You often hear the youngsters shout ‘Hamish’s ball’ and everyone then waits.”
The inclusivity offered by participants has been a bit of a learning curve for the coaches.
Alison states that her family really value the work of ‘Run Fit Rabble’. They hope that these programmes can continue. Hamish not only enjoys his sessions he now is regularly physically active and has become an advocate for others to try different sports and games.
Tees Valley Sport are keen to support other non-traditional sport organisations, especially those that target inactive people. For more information or support contact Paul Kreczak on 01642 342287 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on 23rd April 2019