This fall, our son Benjamin had a breakthrough on the basketball court.
New places and faces can be a challenge for Ben. But not at Ausome. He lights up when he sees that big red star logo. So do we! Over the last three years, Ausome has become a trusted home for our family. It’s not just that the staff, coaches and volunteers understand and support his needs, it’s their willingness to never give up on Ben.
That’s what gave him (and us!) the courage to give Ausome basketball a try. Ben likes throwing the ball around at home, but he had never been in a program like that before and we didn’t know how it would go.
On the first day, Ben was very reluctant to participate and refused to enter the basketball court. But then Team Ausome jumped into action: very receptive, patient and supportive.
We started with small steps. Outside of the court, staff and volunteers joined us in passing the basketball back and forth with Ben, dribbling, and using a hula-hoop as a net. By the end of that first day, we decided to set the goal that Ben would make it onto the basketball court by the end of the program.
Each week, we focused on participation in the way Ben wanted. When he didn’t want to participate, they never gave up trying new ways to engage, connect and motivate him while respecting his comfort level. On one occasion, all it took was the simple act of giving him tickles and gentle squeezes to turn things around and reinforce the joy in activity.
Other times, Ben would need a break and found comfort in crunching fall leaves into his hands. Team Ausome understood the sensory stimulation without us having to explain.
Then on his final day in the program, he achieved that goal we set on day one. He mustered the courage to join his fellow athletes on the basketball court for the first time! For us and him, that was a very positive outcome. And it was thanks to the accommodation of Ben’s needs and the setting of small, attainable goals, which kept him continuously feeling included in the program.
What we loved about the experience was that Ben tried, he was supported and he was met with wonderful people who understood how to communicate and engage with him and let him be himself.
We are thankful to Ausome for continuously supporting our children and seeing the potential in each child, and in our Ben.
If you are in a position to make a year-end donation to a charity that does vital, impactful work in our community, I can’t think of a more worthy organization to support.
Right now, your gift to Ausome Ottawa is especially important for running more programs in 2022. They are 100% funded by donations from our community, so every dollar given matters and makes a real impact.
Your donation today of any size gives more children like Ben the opportunity to play and be active at a time when that’s needed most.
Louis and Martina,