Challenging Disability Through Outdoor Adventure

Nathan and Big Brother David

The Connell Family


Caroline Connell had such a fantastic time with her family she wrote this wonderful letter to one of our Senior Instructors Pam Bassent.


Dear Pam

I thought I would write to you to express our gratitude for one of the best holiday weeks we have ever had. All four of us had the most amazing time. This is down to you and the staff at Calvert Trust.

David has autism and global learning difficulties. He has been placed under the highly vulnerable category and will always need adult supervision throughout his life. As a family this has been hugely traumatic. No one ever wants to hear this of their own child. It pains me as a mum to see him struggle with things that we all take for granted.

This is how all families feel with a disabled child irrespective of ability and age. While David copes better than many disabled people, it doesn't make it any easier as a parent. The week we had with you has been outstanding. This is on so many levels.

David really showed us what he is truly able to do. This is because you encouraged us to stretch our abilities and trust.  

As a family we do find it difficult to do activities all together that engage both boys and where Nathan feels he is also challenged.  Nathan has such a wonderful nature that over the years he has recognised David's needs and has always put these first. We all worked on such an equal playing field that Nathan and David saw their mum and dad being challenged too.

You have an unique ability to encourage everyone - physically and emotionally, to celebrate every possible achievement.  

I saw this with all the families you worked with - parents and children. You do this in a genuine, controlled and calm manner - never passing comment or judgement.

I know that the other two families also got so much more from the week than they anticipated too. We were really lucky to meet them and the other groups too.

I know you have worked for the Calvert Trust for quite a while and any challenge for you is part of the job. That may be the case, but it is how you assessed every situation to maximise potential. I hope you realise what a unique quality that is and the huge impact you have made on our family who have come home very, very happy and very, very proud.

As a head teacher of a school with an autistic communication base, I know only too well that many people have the wrong impression of inclusion. I become so fed up with people considering inclusion as anyone can take part with worthless differentiation. 

It isn't easy to trust someone else with your children, but we did and you were fabulous.

Caroline Connell

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