By Jai Breitnauer, Incredible Fundraiser
Every Good Boy Deserves Football – who else remembers that from recorder lessons at school? It was a memory rhyme, a way to remind yourself of the order of the notes on the bar. But I used to think, what if the boy can’t play football?
Now, 30-odd-years later, I have a good boy who can’t play football. It’s not that he doesn’t want to play. He struggles with anxiety that prevents him from joining in. He has a stutter which means he cannot communicate clearly and quickly. And he has dyspraxia with a processing delay, which means that kicking the ball is hard work. But he still plays football, because he has a great bunch of friends and an empathetic teacher who have set the game up to make his life easier. For example, they have invented the ‘elbow rule’ – if the ball happens to be flying toward you, and you internally panic, and you put your arms up across your face to protect yourself from impact and the ball bounces off your elbow and goes into the goal, well, that counts. That happened one day, resulting in my good boy scoring the winning goal and the pitch went wild. Everyone celebrated, even though that wouldn’t fly with the FA.
At Incredible Kids, we believe there is no reason why everyone can’t just join in. If something is hard for our young people, we make it easier. If the rules of the game need to be adjusted, that’s fine. If we need to adapt play to be louder, quieter, more or less sensory, then we do it. We are truly accessible – everyone can join in with our adventure if they want to, or we will support them to have their own.
If you have been thinking of coming along, but you’re worried your child won’t fit in, don’t panic. That is an understandable response to have when you live in a world that often can’t or won’t adapt to your young person’s needs. Feel free to send us a message, we are happy to talk through your concerns. Or just come along and give us a try. We have over 150 children attend our sessions each week bringing with them a range of physical, learning, and social and emotional needs and it is our job to meet those needs.
Our parents and carers have described Incredible Kids as their ‘safe place’, a space where their young person can ‘be themselves’, a ‘place where we can all relax.’ Incredible Kids is here as much for the adults as the young people. We are here to create a community and connect like-minded families. In the words of Maui from one of our favourite films, Moana, you’re welcome!