The therapeutic benefits of an afternoon shouting from the stands.
This post is coming late in the day after we’ve returned from a weekend away at a festival. I’d actually planned to do this post later in the week but I’m sat here with a hoarse voice from singing and cheering in the fresh air for a whole weekend so it seems appropriate to write this now.
This post is about one of the things I think is really beneficial for me about going to watch sport. Shouting, cheering, emotion, excitement, tension, relief… I could go on. I’ve realised that going to the rugby has a really beneficial effect for me.
As the parent of a disabled child I spend a lot of time ‘holding it all together’. There’s mountains of paperwork and phone-calls. What we need and is right for Lucy is not always provided. I’ve talked about one example of this in the past that when the regional AAC service assessed Lucy for AAC they agreed that she would benefit, that she had potential to learn with the right system an they had great ideas about what that should be but Lucy didn’t meet the criteria to get funding from NHS England. It’s supposed to be funded locally but isn’t. As an aside we did get the funding in the end through support from family and the Bobtown Beer Festival). There are others though. Once support is provided there’s work in managing that for example keeping on top of goals in school, equipment provision, ordering supplies.
I do my very very best to deal with all of these things kindly and with patience. To understand that I’m speaking to/ writing to/ emailing a person who is just trying to do their best day in and day out. Just like me. I recall back when I was working taking a difficult call in the open plan office. At some point I’d said ‘I’m actually feeling very angry about this’. My colleagues commented that I was very calm for an angry person. That’s the thing though we’re constantly trying to keep it together because anger and upset are rarely the way to go when securing support and services for you child.
So that’s why I love going to places like the rugby where I can shout. Now don’t get me wrong, I try to bring the same compassion to the stands as I do to my phone calls. Everyone on the pitch (YES the referees too! 😂) is doing the very best they can in that moment. But shouting encouragement from the bottom of my lungs ‘Come on Batley’, the build up ‘come on, come on’ when you think a try is on the way followed by a delighted roar or disappointed sigh whatever the outcome is therapy for me. It’s the opportunity to express emotion-loudly, freely and safely. Daddy vs AAC recognises the benefit too. We set off to a match last week but it was later in the day and Lucy wasn’t very happy and over tired so we turned around and came home. I was sent straight back in the car because ‘I think you need to go and have a good shout.’.
So here’s to shouting and cheering.
Teeny tiny little extra bit about adding cheering to AAC supports.
This is primarily a post about the benefits of watching sport from a really personal perspective. It’s worth noting though that there’s a benefit to having shouting and cheering words on an AAC system. I’ve added a couple of exampled from Global Symbols here which is a great free symbols resource. One of the sets of symbols on there Mulberry Symbols have a set of symbols with lost of UK football team strips on them (not Rugby League but great if you have soccer fans), so you can have really customised club pages too.
I also thing that cheering and shouting are great ways to use single switch buttons like a big mack. They’re pretty robust switches and can withstand a pretty hard press if they’re activated in a moment of excitement.
So go find a local club and enjoy a couple of hours of shouting and cheering, however you do it!!