Samuel is a nine year old boy with Autism. He struggles with social communication as well as coordination difficulties. Samuel’s parents were thrilled to hear about their local inclusive Flyerz session, especially due to the lack of opportunities for children like Samuel to participate in sports, and particularly team sports.
Because of Flyerz hockey, Samuel’s motivation to participate in activities beyond just a few minutes at a time has not only improved at sessions but also during family and school activities. Samuel’s first few sessions at Flyerz lasted only five minutes, when he would tell his father that he was ready to go home. Then, only five sessions later, Samuel was not only staying but also participating for the full hour-long session. Samuel’s father attributes this to the genuine passion and dedication of the volunteers at the club, and especially the one-to-one volunteer who works with and supports Samuel at every session.
Samuel has now been attending Flyerz sessions for 18 months and has achieved more than any of the volunteers and his family ever imagined. His progress at sessions goes far beyond an hour every other Sunday, and has enabled the family to spend more quality time together during family activities. Samuel can use strategies he has learned at Flyerz to help him focus on participating fully for the duration of the activity.
The one-to-one support that the club volunteers offer really contributes to his development and growth. Together, they have created charts for Samuel’s progress that help with his motivation. After he achieves a hockey skill, he gets a gold star and each star contributes to a reward at the end. It is this type of genuine commitment, patience, and care that is so incredibly meaningful and impactful to Samuel’s family.
Samuel now has the motivation to not only go, but play hockey for a full session. He is part of a team and really enjoys the sessions. When you ask Samuel if he wants to go he says, “yes of course!” He is now invested in Flyerz, just as they have been in him since the very start.