Leisure activities are an important part of life for everyone. Engaging in activities that are fun, enjoyable and interesting increases a person’s well-being, happiness and satisfaction in life. Leisure activities can be done alone or in a group, at home or out in the community. We learn activities by watching others, taking lessons, joining clubs, reading instructions, or simply by trying.
For people with ASD, developing leisure interests and skills can be more challenging because skills are often not learned through informal observation of others or through imitation. Their interests are developed in their own way. How to use materials may not be understood and the materials may primarily be used for their sensory qualities. Skills learned through one activity may not be generalised to another.
Challenging behaviours are often reduced when a person engages in personally satisfying leisure activities. The ability to entertain oneself can reduce stress for the individual both at home and in the community.
There are also social benefits. Leisure skills and interests can connect individuals who share the same passion. An activity brings a group of people together who share an interest and like to talk about it. A child may enjoy drumming so he connects with others who enjoy drumming and they could all play music together.
Exposure to a wide variety of activities and experiences broadens interests. Interests will also change over time so it’s important to keep expanding experiences for growth and development.
No matter what age an individual is, they need physical activity which helps reduce stress, build muscle, and increase flexibility and balance. Regular exercise can also contribute to a better night’s sleep.
As a person ages and matures, their interests will change. Boredom can become a problem over time. A person can also get “stuck” in an activity and way of doing things.
Greater independence is achieved through being able to do activities across a variety of environments. Leisure activities connect us to our family and community. They develop skills, increase independence, and reduce stress. Greater life satisfaction fosters happiness and well-being, and when a person is happy they are generally more flexible and adaptable – both important life skills.
At Bradstow activities are also used to develop engagements and build relationships with others. There is no activity that is deemed too difficult. It may be one to one interaction with a care giver or a group attending a main stream music festival or an international football match at Wembley or even a beach holiday to Spain. The variety is absolutely endless.
We use the ‘I/we can’ approach!
As well as utilising a multitude of community activities we also provide a host of engaging on-site activities.
There is an allotment area, an interactive soft play area, a swimming pool, an Astroturf football pitch and an interactive cycle track to name just a few. We are constantly looking at ways to enhance the lives of our young people.