Christopher's story

Wetwheels Solent

I just wanted to say thank you once again.  We were first lucky enough to have a trip with you from Yarmouth out to the Needles in 2015.  You gave my son Christopher, who is non-verbal and has severe Autism, the opportunity to drive the boat.  I was emotionally overwhelmed at how he listened to Keith and took instruction.  He was driving the boat!

This inspired me to challenge Christopher even more.  I wondered what else he may be able to do.  I contacted a local outdoor adventure centre on the Isle of Wight and I asked them if they would consider having Christopher to provide him with the opportunity to learn activities that more able teenagers his age would be doing.

They adjusted their teaching methods and over the last two years they have taught him to ride a mountain bike and taken him on 15 mile bike rides (on cycle paths not roads!).  This wasn’t easy as he didn’t understand balance or braking, but he showed determination and never gave up.  Neither did the instructors.

He’s learnt how to ride Segways and Airwheels, he’s been sailing, kayaking, taken part in bush craft, giant kite flying, paddle boarding and fishing.  He completes all of these activities with support to ensure that he’s safe as he has no concept of danger. 

So often as parents we are made to feel that we shouldn’t give our children the same chances as other children.  In a relaxed atmosphere, where I didn’t have to ignore the stares and hear the whispers from those deemed as ‘normal’, you gave my baby the chance to show me what he can do.  I saw the expression on his face - the satisfaction and the pure joy - it was priceless.  I count myself lucky to have Christopher in my life; his zest for life is just amazing.  He never gives up on things he wants, he just keeps going with sheer determination.  It doesn’t matter how many times he falls over, he just picks himself up.  By allowing him to do the activities that challenge him he’s taught me so very much.

So, thank you not only for the trip but inspiring me to seek out other adventure activities.  Please never under estimate the difference that you make to us.  I am sure if Christopher could, he would thank you too.

Katherine Wheeler