National Autistic Society: Skiing4all listed as the Autism friendly venue
The National Autistic Society (NAS) wishes to invite Skiing4all to continue to be included on ‘Holidays: autism friendly venues’, an information on holiday facilities which have been specifically designed for people with autism (…). The NAS is sending you this invitation as we believe that you are still offering facilities that are appropriate for people with autism and related disorders.Alex Seymour, The National Autistic Society, 1 August 2013.
Skiing4all, run by a British Psychologist and Ski Instructor, is a specialist provider of year-round skiing and activity holidays aimed exclusively at children and adults with learning disabilities. Based in the Austrian family resort of Zell am See-Kaprun, the organisation invites everyone, regardless of their cognitive ability, to enjoy skiing, sledging, snow-shoeing, swimming, horse-riding or lama-trekking. The activities are run on a one-to-one basis by trained and experienced professionals, forming part of an individually-designed programme. The siblings are welcome to join in so that the whole family can enjoy a fun holiday. With the parents’ needs in mind, all the transport, meeting points, lunch venues etc. are co-ordinated for all the family members and the guests are guided every step of the way before and during the holiday. Skiing holidays are offered from October to May while summer activity holidays include a fun ski day including in July and August.
Down Syndrome Centre: Ski School for Children with Down Syndrome and all sorts of Learning Disabilities
This week we heard from Nicki, mum to 13 year old James, who has Down syndrome. They were just back from a skiing holiday in Austria - where all the family had the time of their lives! Nicki was telling us about a new ski centre, Skiing 4 All, that was set up by Anna Wegner, a British Psychologist and an Austrian-qualified Ski Instructor. Anna's ski school school caters specifically for children and adults with cognitive and learning disabilities, including Down syndrome, Autism, Asperger Syndrome and ADHD. The philosophy of Anna's ski school combines her experience as a psychologist with her passion for outdoor sport activities. This unique combination has helped her create a unique program for people with special developmental, emotional and educational needs - all in a natural setting. She cites some of the therapeutic changes which benefit disabled skiers as improved communication and social skills; improved authentic expression; increased levels of self-confidence and self-esteem; sharpened concentration and increased levels of creativity. The experience of being outdoors in such beautiful forms of nature while facilating contact with different natural materials also helps deepen an understanding of ones personal needs and encourages a disire to discover new possibilities and overcome personal limits. To say nothing about the promotion of exercise, mobility and increased fitness levels! The Skiing 4 All programs also include use of a 25m swimming pool and pony / horse-riding lessons - amidst the stunning Alpine scenery - a nice treat when you get too tired to ski!
Nicki and James are already planning a return trip next year.
Doesn't it sound idyllic? I know the pictures alone have cheered me up!