Last year I completed a report about SNUG (Special Needs Unlimited Group) retreats, which is now available online. SNUG, run by the Family Action Centre with funding from the Steve Waugh Foundation, offers retreats for the whole family of children with rare conditions. During the retreats, families:
- Meet other families caring for a child with special needs
- Gain useful insights from other families about caring for themselves and their families
- Have access to a range of dental, medical, allied health and complementary therapy services
- Enjoy a range of activities offered at Myuna Bay Sport and Recreation Centre (e.g., swimming, canoeing, archery, low rope activities and a climbing wall)
- Participate in activities facilitated by SNUG staff and volunteers (e.g., ice skating, a bush dance, a picnic, sensory play and family games)
- Reflect on their strengths and challenges in caring for a child with special needs
- Have a break from some of the demands of daily life
- Reconnect as a family.
Student volunteers from a range of university disciplines (to date primarily Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology and Education) play a crucial role in the retreat by assisting with daily activities, accompanying families to dental and medical visits where required, assisting the FAC and Myuna Bay recreation staff in providing activities for the children, and generally ensuring the smooth running of the retreat. The volunteers allow parents to have a real break from their daily routine and create an exciting, dynamic experience for the children. Through their volunteering, the students deepen their academic learning, share multidisciplinary perspectives, and gain an insight into the experience of families living with special needs.
The report discusses some of the strengths of, and challenges faced by, families of children with special needs; the experience of families at the retreats; and the impact of the retreats on both the families and student volunteers.
It is quite an impressive program.
Down load the report SNUG Report.
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