19-year-old Aaron moved from London to Cardiff to study at college. Aaron has previously struggled with his temper, as well as being exposed to violence, drugs and being threatened with knife crime on the streets...
Seven-year-old Emily attends our Bluebirds Ability sessions to support her Autism Spectrum Disorder. Over recent years, her parents have lived with the emotional strain and uncertainty of not knowing whether Emily would ever be able to walk or talk.
Bluebirds Ability sessions aim to increase physical and mental wellbeing, social interaction, and confidence for children and young people with disabilities. Since attending Bluebirds Ability, Emily has made incredible progress from her first sessions when she was very withdrawn and reluctant to get involved.
Working closely with Bluebirds Ability coach Nadine, Emily has grown in her confidence to get involved in the sessions and play with the other children and is now communicating more clearly.
Sarah, Emily's Mum said:
"Seeing Emily progress makes me feel brilliant. At one point we didn’t think she was going to walk or talk. We weren’t seeing her play with others, we thought that’s going to impact on her mentally and socially, so it’s great to see."
Lockdown was tough for everyone, particularly for children like Emily who struggle to understand big changes. Emily was often hysterical as she couldn’t understand why she wasn’t able to attend her Bluebirds Ability sessions as she normally would – but the team were able to deliver virtual sessions online which meant that Emily could have some of her routine, social interaction with other children and continue to build her confidence in communicating.
Emily attended virtual sessions twice a week, with support from her mum Sarah. Sarah said:
"Being able to see Emily benefit, interact with others and build confidence is so important to us as a family."
When face-to-face sessions returned, the Bluebirds Ability team and Emily’s family were amazed by her progress. As well as seeming happier in herself, and having improved coordination, she was proactively getting involved in the sessions, and speaking to and playing with the coaches and other children – all things that she would have struggled to do when she first started attending sessions.