Read About Participant, Kirsty's, Experience with Sport for Confidence
Posted on 7th January 2022 at 17:04
Kirsty’s experience with Sport for Confidence - A Case Study
Written by the Ooccupational Therapist and the Coach after consultation and discussion with Kirsty.
Kirsty’s story working with the Occupational Therapist and Coach.
Kirsty, is a 27 year old female, she lives with her mother and enjoys spending time with her family, going out to eat, diamond painting, listening to music, creating dance routines and seeing musicals. Important goals for Kirsty are to gain employment and to build on independent living skills, moving out though is difficult due to her reliance on social care and problems with staffing shortages has led to delays which is disheartening.
Kirsty first attended Sport for Confidence in 2018, not with physical activity related goals, but more to engage in activities that were meaningful, assessable, and achievable. She grew to love the boccia and dance sessions, especially showing off her freestyling moves! Her unique experience of living with her epilepsy and cerebral palsy makes simply attending a leisure centre slightly more restrictive compared to the general population. Having the option of seeing an occupational therapist and a coach who can afford the time and enjoy getting to know her personally, gaining a rich understanding of her values, her strengths, abilities and her personal goals was an important part of the process.
The Occupational Therapist and Coach worked collaboratively with Kirsty aiming to support her independence, enrich her weekly routine by using physical activity as a therapeutic tool, and empower her to learn skills, to socialise and meet new people. We all knew if this could be achieved then this would create positive steps in Kirsty achieving her goals. Over several months her confidence increased, the relationship between Kirsty, the coach and occupational therapist enabled a deeper understanding of her skills and abilities and her goals were refined to focusing on communication, initiation, coping strategies and vocational skills.
Like many people, Covid-19 massively disrupted her life, making her daily routine and physical activity even more of a challenge. However, Kirsty returned to the leisure centres with vigor and determination! She increased her sessions from 2-4 per week, she felt the time had come to be an independent member of the leisure centre (alongside support from Sport for Confidence) and has new plans to start the gym, she also decided to focus more on a healthy living routine. The occupational therapist and dance coach recognised this as an opportunity to act, they increased 1:1 support and used every single dance session to build on the skills Kirsty was motivated to achieve.
Gradually, at a pace just right for Kirsty, the occupational therapist, the coach, and Kirsty worked collaboratively, building skills and increasing her responsibility in the sessions. Kirsty now works as a volunteer, teaching other participants dance moves and session routines! This role has resulted in outcomes such as increased participation in physical activity, growth in confidence outside of the leisure centre, improved sense of identity, belonging and overall wellbeing.
A word from Kirsty:
Kirsty says she has been very happy being involved as a volunteer within the dance sessions, valuing most the ability to support others. She says that the confidence gained within dance has made her feel able to participate as a valued member of her community as her ability to converse with others has increased so much.
She is looking forward to growing her volunteer role in 2022 and she has identified that her future goals are to help create the dance routines she leads and to take an online first aid courses to support her role as a volunteer dance teacher.
A word from Kirsty’s mum:
Kirsty has been extremely proud of herself for taking risks to reach her goals, and loves seeing her talk to others about her role as a volunteer.
From the Sport for Confidence team:
You are an inspiration Kirsty! You are a valued member of Sport for Confidence and demonstrate great skills in your volunteer role. Well done and keep up the good work.
More detail about Sport for Confidence -
Sport for Confidence is an organisation placing occupational therapists into leisure centres to support and deliver sport and physical activity sessions to anyone facing barriers to participation. They have teams of sports coaches and health professionals working within leisure centres to create meaningful opportunities for people with long-term health conditions and other marginalised groups to be more active. The service is adjusted according to the participants, to make the experience right for them to achieve their personal goals, whether that be related to building confidence, having fun, managing their health or becoming fitter. The Sport for Confidence model ensures collaborative working between health and social care, active partnerships, the community, leisure providers and leisure centre staff. The views of the participants and community is an essential part of the model and reciprocal learning between participants and staff is encouraged daily.
Sport for Confidence offer professional expertise but work to ensure the leisure centre is a community asset where people go to relax and enjoy themselves. For example, the referral and discharge process is purposely relaxed, people can attend with family members, they can refer themselves, they can join in a way that’s right for them. Participants can stay for days, months or years; if years they are encouraged to build new skills such as developing coaching skills and supporting others. Staff have the time to understand individual need and strive to personalise any adaptations and adjust support levels accordingly. Different sporting sessions are provided depending on the coach, the facilities, and the request of the participants, sports sessions include adaptive cycling, netball, football, yoga, swimming and more! The coach and the occupational therapist work collaboratively to deliver sessions which allows each member of staff to focus on their primary role, whilst giving the participants the confidence that the session will be adapted for their needs.
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