Adam is our 15-year old son and he was diagnosed with ASD at the age of 4. Autism is a very difficult condition to explain as in our experience, you rarely find 2 people with autism who behave in a similar way.  In a nutshell, a typical autistic profile is one where the person experiences difficulty in understanding the outside world.  Their behaviour although odd to us, seems to them to make perfect sense.  They appear to live in their own world, preferring their own company to that of others. This can be extremely distressing to those close to them and can put an enormous stain on family life.

Like many people with autism, Adam has no desire to form social relationships and spends a lot of time in his bedroom on his own.  Over the years, we have spent a considerable amount of time trying to encourage Adam to interact socially and take an interest in his surroundings. Adam does not partake in any team sports.  He has no interest in games never mind the rules of same and shows no inclination to be involved.  This lack of activity has been a real concern to us for a while.  Adam’s only form of exercise is walking which fortunately he’ll happily do, however, for some time we’ve been trying to find some other form of activity that Adam can enjoy and benefit from. Primary education took place at Riverside in Stirling where Adam was a pupil in the supported unit and he now attends New Struan School in Alloa, a school dedicated to the education and well being of young people with autism. He has attended a mainstream trampoline session in the past, however, there was nothing in place for those in need of support and although he enjoyed the physical side of the activity, staff were not trained in dealing with children with complex needs so it was not successful. Whilst attending New Struan, Adam has now been introduced to Rebound Therapy. This is basically a session of bouncing on a trampoline but with a trained support worker, in this case Occupational Therapists. The OTs in attendance not only understand the support needed for children with complex needs, but also have knowledge of tried and tested methods previously implemented to encourage our children to get active. In Adam’s case, music is a huge part of his life so choosing songs to bounce along to is a huge motivator. The OTs encourage Adam to ask for the particular song he wants, therefore, not only must he use speech but he is also encouraged to make eye contact with another person. We’ve yet to meet a child that doesn’t enjoy bouncing on a trampoline, therefore, the idea is to take a motivator and use it to build on. The points below are basic areas where Adam has shown improvement as a result of the motivation element of Rebound Therapy:

Paying attention – at home we are constantly asking Adam to look at us. He’ll do it quite happily if there’s something in it for him!
Choosing – songs or objects to bounce with (eg, peanut, snake, yoga ball, balloons)
Taking instruction – putting together routines bouncing on various parts of the body thereby improving co-ordination and spacial awareness.
Exercise – ever bounced for a long period on a trampoline? It’s quite tiring!!!
Callum, Jordan, Abby, Eilidh and the various other people involved in Rebound have sourced and developed a workable strategy to help those in need of support.  Rebound Therapy proves than once a motivator is identified, this can be used to build on, developing skills such as social interaction, awareness, listening and exercise routines.  The children love it and so do we.  Well done team!!

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