This post reflects on feedback from Keith and Fleur Mitchell when they were asked about their visit to Kidz to Adultz South.
Our son Aiden is 4 years old and has cerebral palsy. Aiden is cheeky, bright, funny and full of energy; he knows exactly how to wrap people round his little finger. Aiden has the biggest and best smile and laugh ever!
How did you find out about the Kidz to Adultz Events?
We found out about the Kidz to Adultz events when Aiden was about a year old. We attended our first one in 2016 and to be honest I found it quite overwhelming. The amount of information and equipment really took me by surprise and at the time we really weren’t sure what kind of needs Aiden was going to have.
In your personal experience, how does the event help you and the families that attend?
We’ve now just attended our 3rd show and absolutely love them, as much as it can be overwhelming to see so much equipment on offer it’s also very heart warming to know there is something for everyone regardless of ability. We feel so much more confident about Aiden’s future now that we know there is equipment to grow with him and help meet his needs, it seems that every need/eventuality can be catered for and Aiden will able to access a full life thanks to this.
Has it been useful to meet other families at the event? If yes, how?
There’s a real sense of family and care at the events, we always feel welcomed and each company are always willing to listen to Aiden’s journey and offer advice and information. It’s been lovely meeting other families who deal with similar situations, seeing older children and adults accessing equipment allows us to imagine how Aiden might also access it one day. It’s always been such a positive experience.
What does Aiden enjoy the most about the event?
Aiden is quite nosy and loves going to the events. He enjoys checking out the sensory equipment, seeing how much loot he can get (cars, clackers, sweets, balloons). On our most recent visit he used his gait walker the whole time and would head off in any direction when something caught his eye. As every exhibitor is so friendly, Aiden was allowed to run down the ramps on the WAVs on display. He’s a bit of a speed junkie!
What has been your best ‘discovery’ at the events?
The events have allowed us to try out new aids (walking/standing etc), see how Aiden reacts to different sensory toys and access some equipment he wouldn’t normally or easily be able try/access. We tried an eye gaze with Smartbox last year and as he did so well he now has his own. It’s something we wouldn’t have thought about getting him at such a young age. But after trying it at the show we knew he would excel with one.
Having been to a few Kidz to Adultz events in the past, why do you keep coming back?
We always come back to Kidz to Adultz as Aiden’s need change year on year. And new equipment is always being developed. It’s a great testing ground and one which always gives us food for thought. We aim to purposefully look at 2-3 items each time we go and then get ideas for future needs.
We know having a child with a disability or additional needs is difficult and the shows from personal experience can be over whelming. But they have been an amazing source of information and support. Now we’re a couple of years into this journey, I’m able to identify a couple of keys areas of Aiden’s development. And we target exhibitors who have what I think we need.
Any messages for the exhibitors or the organisers of the event?
The exhibitors are always friendly and willing to give advice. We’ve never found them to be pushy. And they genuinely seem to enjoy being there and meeting all the awesome kids. We really recommend you go to one of the shows and see what’s on offer.
Our next event is Kidz to Adultz North on Thursday 8th November, 9.30am – 4.30pm.