Susan, Gerard and Amy, are regulars at parkrun. Gerard and Amy both have autism, Susan tells us how the routine of parkrun makes them feel so good.
It was a miserable, wet and windy parkrun morning in November, but we got up as eager as ever, running clothes laid out the night before.
It’s twelve-year-old Gerard’s 18th parkrun and seven-year-old Amy’s 13th parkrun. Routine is so important to us. Actually routine is a vital part of our autism world. It’s what gets us through each day.
What caught us completely by surprise was the positives that the weekly parkrun has brought to the lives of our young people with autism.
Autism affects communication, socialising and interaction with others. It affects children in so many different ways.
We started out as Tail Walkers at our local parkrun. Exercise not only helps children with autism better engage in the environment, but it also helps promote wellness and leads to better overall health.
This love of our weekly parkrun is wrapped up by the routine, we are up and dressed in our running clothes and out the door by 9am. It’s the familiarity, the supportive and friendly people at our local parkrun. We love it.
The encouragement and support that is shown to the children by the adults shows such great respect and an understanding of how difficult it may be for everyone to start a fitness regime.
It’s a real feel good factor of belonging and supporting each other. Topped off by our weekly treat and chat with the group after the parkrun in our local cafes and coffee shops.
Where we finish and our times don’t matter, it’s the taking part and the finishing that counts. Both children recently received milestone t-shirts in the post along with a parkrun certificate and that was a very exciting day for them.
So on this very wet and windy day where most adults would shudder, Amy loved the sensory feedback and who doesn’t like running and walking in muddy puddles.
Gerard was so delighted to finish he had his arms up in the air with a smile to be encouraged home.
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