Introducing kite flying to autistic children
By SandrineGKF on July 11, 2012
Global Kiter Foundation’s mission is to enrich the lives of people with disabilities through our wonderful sport. Up until recently, our experience has been with people with physical disabilities- more precisely, people that are either paraplegic or tetraplegic.
Our workshops have been so well received we are excited about planning as many workshops as our budget will allow in different countries, enriching the lives of as many as possible.
A few days ago, our work with PWD reached a new level. We introduced kite flying to a group of 5 autistic children and their parents. New channels of communication needed to be introduced as we adapted our way of teaching. The children first spent time discovering the new material by touching the kites and enjoying all the different textures and colors. They then spent time discovering the bar, and the lines, which they really enjoyed. Once they each had a chance to feel this new “object” we launched a small trainer kite with short lines. The wind was light so it enabled our instructor to hold the lines so as to avoid any pressure on the bar and everyone took their turn holding the bar and seeing the kite fly. The movement grabbed their attention and made them really laugh. Their laughing was a great “communication” and before we knew it, we were all joining in!
Autistic children have incredible minds! One of the boys saw that Stefan was holding the lines, so he wanted to do the same and refused to touch the bar… There was no fooling him! Another girl didn’t like that one of our volunteer’s cap got wet when everyone else’s was dry; so she removed it from her head! Finally, one of the other girls walked up to me, held both my hands in hers, locked hands with me for a few seconds, then walked back to the kite. I like to think it was her way of saying she was having a good time.
As a mother, my heart goes out to the mothers of children with disabilities, it goes out their families, their courage and strength. They thanked us repeatedly for giving them the chance to participate in such an exciting activity and get the kids out of their house; but in reality, it is down to us to thank them for such an amazing experience. It is so easy to get locked into your day-to-day life that you don’t see the full spectrum of life; and events like these really show us how incredible people can really be.
We are really looking forward to working with these boys and girls again. Their smiles and laughter will always be with us!