Hear about how Craig’s play at The Yard helped build confidence by giving him the encouragement and space to socialise and try new things.
Sharon is mum to Craig, aged 11, who attends the Thursday 10-14’s club at The Yard. Craig has been a member of this club since April 2018 and enjoys coming every week. Craig has a language impairment, autism and dyspraxia. They used to attend our football sessions and occasionally come to family sessions and summer holiday services with Craig’s younger brother, Andrew. Sharon explained to me why The Yard has been so helpful for the family in the past year.
“We first heard about The Yard years ago when we saw it on BBC’s DIY SOS Children in Need special. We didn’t start attending until Ronnie (one of the playworkers) came to talk about The Yard’s services at a parenting session we were at last year. Craig then started going to the football sessions with Ronnie at Meadowbank and I put him on the waiting list for the 10-14’s club. The Yard came at a time when we were trying to encourage Craig to do more exercise so the football was great. When the football stopped, I gave Craig the choice of coming to the 10-14’s club or attending another football club and he picked The Yard! Craig loves the 10-14’s club because it is a familiar and safe environment and he can socialise with his peers without being judged.”
“The best thing for me about The Yard is that Craig will try new things here. At home or when we are out and about, he is hesitant to do things that he has never done before, but it is different at The Yard. When we were on holiday, Craig refused to play table tennis and got easily frustrated because he couldn’t quite grasp it straight away. However, when I arrived to pick him up from the club on table tennis night at The Yard, he was happily playing! It was the same when the 10-14’s went to the trampolining centre and to the skate park.
If we went as a family, Craig would just sit with my husband and I, but when he goes with The Yard, he tries these new activities and has a great time. At The Yard, he feels safe to try new things and the playworkers are amazing at encouraging him to do so. He especially loves playing with Darcie who is just great with the children. The Yard makes Craig feel safe, independent and so much more confident!”
“The Yard has made a difference for us as a family as well. Craig struggles to engage with other kids and, even though the others in his school class are generally great with him, non-disabled children often look at him as if he is a bit odd. I have even seen adults stare and laugh at him. At The Yard, this doesn’t happen. It’s so nice for us to see him in a place where he is not judged and where he can completely be himself. Craig’s dad used to struggle with the fact that Craig didn’t really interact with other kids and just wanted to play Xbox all the time. The Yard gives us peace of mind that he has some time to socialise and have fun with peers. We sometimes feel guilty that Craig just wants to play computer games all the time but the fact that he comes to the 10-14’s club (and also scouts) takes this guilt away. We love that we can bring him somewhere where he’s doing ‘normal’ kid things.”
“Craig looks forward to The Yard every week and always tells his teachers how excited he is for it. It’s so lovely that the kids are asked what they want to do each week and they have a choice of activities. Two weeks after Craig had started at The Yard’s 10-14’s club, he turned to me on the car ride home without being prompted and said ‘I love it at The Yard’. I think that really sums up how great The Yard is!”
Read more about support for families and carers of disabled children and young people https://www.gov.scot/publications/supporting-disabled-children-young-people-and-their-families/pages/rights-awareness/