I’m so glad I’ve made a new friend!! ~ precious words from a child with social communication difficulties, after taking part in the inaugural Sugru Social Club. Social interactions do not come easy to children with Dyspraxia; communicating and cooperating with others can be a difficult challenge. Luckily, early intervention which is tailored specifically to the needs of the individual child can greatly improve many of the symptoms of dyspraxia, including social difficulties.
Behaviours associated with dyspraxia can often lead to high rates of bullying, anxiety and depression in children with the condition. Sugru Social Club aims to equip the members with skills to manage and overcome their symptoms, by finding out what techniques works for them and allowing them to learn new skills in a safe, accepting and mutually respectful setting. Children with dyspraxia are often very creative and imaginative; because of this, Sugru’s Child Directed Play is hugely beneficial in allowing the group to coordinate the club’s program. The children learn how to manage their behaviours, be respectful of the other group members, accommodate others’ feeling and preferences, as well as to develop methods of overcoming and working around difficulties they may have, such as fine motor skills.
Sugru Social Club is the children’s club. Each group is given a name by the members, such as “The Sparkle Batman Pony Club” in Galway. It is this special understanding of and deep respect for children that makes this hour very special for these kids. They are given membership cards, and allowed to control the direction of the activities. This gives the children a sense of ownership over the club and its workings, making them feel more in control and relaxed about interacting with the group.
The only rule in SSC is that there is only one voice at a time. Children with Dyspraxia can often lack self-confidence, be easily stimulated and/or be quite withdrawn. Allowing one group member to speak at a time gives each child the chance to have their say, and also teaches everyone how to be respectful of others’ speaking time. This affords the children the opportunity to interact with one another in a calm and structured environment, while encouraging social bonds to form between them. Positive feedback is promoted, and questions are always welcome during every activity, which opens discussions between the children, increasing confidence and social skills all the while.
The first weeks of SSC have been focusing on understanding identity and uniqueness – letting the children identify what the club should be for them, and understanding where they fit into the group. Each member is equal in Sugru Social Club, and this is emphasised while giving the children the chance to develop themselves as individuals, as well as within the group. As many of the children in the groups have Dyspraxia, they can also identify with the behaviours of their peers. This allows the children to have an understanding of their own behaviour, even if they are not aware of the cause. With this, the children can work together to help each other to appreciate their behaviours, and also to share methods to overcome certain difficulties they may share.
We can never escape the need for social interaction and communication, and Sugru Social Club wants to ensure that the members of the clubs have the best opportunity to develop themselves to cope with this. Working together, we can find a way around these issues and become a strong group – because who does not want to make a new friend?!
Sugru Social Club runs in Athlone on Tuesdays 4-5, Dublin on Wednesdays 4-5, and Athenry Thursdays 4-5
The club works on a drop in basis so that kids can come when they are able but don’t have to come every week.
Your child becomes a member of the club at the first session that they attend and you pay just 10e for each session your child attends.
Phone 0906499144 for details or email firstname.lastname@example.org