CAS Reflection: Service
Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA)
- Demonstrate the skills and recognise the benefits of working collaboratively.
As we concluded the first term of working with riders, I found it amazing to see the progress the child that I was helping made. Personally, I feel as though if it were just me alone who was monitoring this child, or just my friend, it would have been a lot more difficult to help him make the progress he did. Both of us keep on the lookout for his safety and help each other support him whether it’s keeping his back straight or helping him engage in activities, and I think both of us constantly working to try and talk to him made him quite comfortable with us. Unlike at the start, he would listen to us and started putting in more effort.
Aside from just his riding skills, we also saw an improvement in his acknowledgement of other people and he was much more willing to respond when someone else would talk to him. Additionally, he always used to ask us and the teacher if we could go for a walk in the garden (the jungle path) with everybody. Initially when we would tell him “no” or “maybe” he would get very upset as it didn’t go according to his own plans. However, towards the end of his term, when we told him “no”, he would be okay with it and accept it, yet he would still work hard during his sessions. Both my friend and I were quite sad when this term came to an end because we really enjoyed seeing him make progress.
We have recently started the next term with a new set of riders and I have another kid who has ASD, however he is a few years younger than the previous rider I worked with. He is completely different though, despite having the same condition so I realised quickly that there were certain things I would have to do differently with him than I did with my previous rider. This time though, we have been split up and put into new pairs. For the first session, I was working with this new volunteer. Unlike last time, I didn’t have any connection to this person and I had some experience unlike him, so this time I had to take on the role of a sort of mentor instead and help him by teaching him skills I learned from working with my previous rider as well as reassuring him in areas where he was unsure of what to do.
My partner ended up switching though every session until about the 4th one, so each time I had to help my new partner learn about how to assist the kid we were working with. I feel like without working together with your partner sidewalker, it can be really difficult helping kids as you can be very unsure of what to do, therefore I always tried to help new partners and also accept whatever they would suggest to me so we could make sure the rider was having the best experience they could.