Thursday, 16 November 2017

Meeting the donkeys!



We've done a lot of activities lately that encapsulate our #NoLimits theme so sometimes its nice just to slow down and smell the hay. This event was aimed a little more at the smaller members of Little Hiccups who are not quite old enough to join us on the bigger events such as skiing or at water sports.


During the half term holidays in October we went to visit the Donkey Sanctuary in Adel.  The Donkey Sanctuary is also a charity that offers donkey assisted interaction to children with additional needs. Because who doesn't love a donkey! 







x




"Donkeys have a unique presence, a zen-like grounded quality. We’re using their abilities as sentient facilitators and encouraging them to be an equal partner in the session." Caron Whaley, Director of Donkey Assisted Therapy.
Initially, the programme involved riding therapy for children with additional needs but over the past four decades it has evolved to cater for users with emotional and cognitive needs as well as physical. As a consequence we are developing a new model focusing on self-esteem, coping mechanisms, conflict management, empathy and many other skills.
Children with physical, social and behavioural difficulties gain confidence, improved life skills and a sense of achievement from the programme. And the donkeys – many of whom have been rescued from a life of neglect, mistreatment or abandonment – gain a new and rewarding life engaging with lots of people.
Our children certainly seemed to enjoy themselves on the day and get a lot out of meeting the donkeys and we got some beautiful smiles from them all. The children got a 20 minute ride on the donkeys where they also played some hand eye coordination games like putting a toy bird in its nest. Children that were waiting to go on the donkeys were also invited to play outside in the play area or in the Sensory room. And as it was close to Halloween we also jazzed up the event with spooky fancy dress for a bit of fun. We had some fantastic looking costumes scaring everyone but fortunately the donkeys all took it in their stride!  

We were also honoured that one of our regulars, Callum decided to join us on his birthday. We hoped that he had a fantastic day and that he enjoyed his cake! Happy Birthday Callum!
As well as visiting the donkeys we also held a cake bake to raise funds for Cash for Kids.  Cash for Kids is also a Charity and their goal is to respond to the needs of children in the communities so they can live life to the full and realise their individual potential. Every Christmas they run Mission Christmas where they collect gifts for disadvantaged children. For the past few years, they have contributed towards the Little Hiccups Christmas party and with their donations they've helped make it a party to remember and helped create so  many special memories for many special children.

Little Hiccups is pleased to announce that the bake sale raised a fantastic £119 which Little Hiccups is matching. A massive thank you to everyone who contributed and donated to such a fabulous cause. It was hard work eating those cakes but I suppose someone had to do it!
"Thank you Little Hiccups for your trip to the Leeds Donkey Sanctuary (Halloween style), yesterday, as it was another "great" trip, and Nathan absolutely "loved it! And the donkeys lol! And Nathan looked like he was someone from to the manor born, with his fancy dress and his riding helmet on lol!"

"Thank you again so much. I can't believe how much Callum loved been on the donkeys and I was super worried. 100% going again. We had a lovely morning."
"We had a fab morning with the donkeys. Thank you so much x"

"Thanks a lot guys was a lovely morning x"

"Thank you once again little hiccups for a lovely morning at the donkey sanctuary xxxxxxxx"



Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Its a slippery slope...



This is definitely one of our benchmark trips for our #NoLimits motto. The skiing trips are renowned in Little Hiccups and  talked about constantly. Its just so groundbreaking that our Little Hiccups children - ANY of our Little Hiccups children, regardless of ability, can experience the thrill and
sensations of skiing.


I don't think I would be exaggerating if I said that we required a lot of patience and flexibility on the day for a number of reasons. But I can honestly say that the ski instructors didn't just raise to the challenge - they exceeded it. Something that was commented on by so many families on the day - the feedback always included just how lovely everyone was! And it was this professionalism that really made the day as special as it was. It was understandably a bit much for some of the children as the enclosing sensations of the tight boots, heavy skis or wearing winter clothes took them out of their comfort zone. Sometimes they were persuaded to give it a try - other times it just wasn't happening. It was in these cases in particular that we learnt how good Disability Snowsport were. There was no pressure to perform and no demands on time. It was relaxed and easy going. Children were encouraged but not pressured and I think because of this attitude we had more success than we would have otherwise. Families were also invited back to give it another try if it wasn't successful this time. Something I personally loved as the instructors will be doing this in their own time (so a BIG shout out from me too!)

And of course who could forget the Sitskis and the faces of the children who got to go in one of these.  If you have not heard of a Sitski it is exactly what it sounds like. They are ski's where the children get to sit down and they are taken down the snow slope by one of the instructors. Its SnoZone that owns the Sitskis and they are available for anyone who has a sensory, cognitive or physical impairment. Snozone's aim is to make Snowsports accessible and inclusive for everyone. And that is definitely something Little Hiccups can get behind!

The rest of us were on the beginners slope and that was immense fun in itself as we shuffled up the hill in skis and tried not to fall over. Something that was ultimately inevitable. It was definitely more interesting when skis were tangled with other skis and at least two ended up in an untidy pile in the snow. But it all adds to the fun at least! Eventually I may even get better than sliding down 10 feet with my eyes closed.

We've had lots of positive feedback and we really enjoyed our time on the slope and I think we'll be back very soon with many more families wanting to boast #NoLimits.

"Thanks for a brilliant morning skiing ..The kids did brill but omg it's been 31yrs since I've side stepped up a slope n me legs are feeling it lol xxx"

"Thank you so much for today's event! We have never been skiing before and I have to say they loved it! Oliver really enjoyed it and the staff were amazing."


"What a day. Thank you so much xx"
"Thank you so much for a great time .. There is nothing that makes me happier than seeing Oliver hurtling down that slope laughing his head off signing 'more'. William amazed me too from start to finish .. He too honestly does things with Little Hiccups he would never usually have the confidence to do."
"Thanks Little Hiccups for an amazing day out with the kids. We had so much fun. The staff at Chill Factore and Disability snow sport were so helpful with my eldest daughter who had problems with her snow boots. Thanks again for the experience and a memory we could never forget."
"We had an awesome time as always! Thank you so much x"
"Thank you Barney loved it. despite us getting lost on the way and arriving extremely late they instructors were incredibly helpful and patient. Xx"