Holiday programme a hit with Jack

Louis Paulin, 16, awaits instructions from Zumba instructor Liz Gordon.
Louis Paulin, 16, awaits instructions from Zumba instructor Liz Gordon.

Zumba classes and watching movies are Jack Senior's idea of a memorable holiday.

The Inglewood High School student, 16, was among the 48 participants enrolled in Idea Services' two-week long holiday programme for children and youths with intellectual disabilities.

Idea Services is the community arm of IHC, New Zealand's largest provider of services for people with intellectual disabilities and their families.

The holiday programme was split into three categories for children, teenagers and individuals with higher needs.

About 20 children and youths were getting ready for a morning of the dance fitness programme Zumba with instructor Liz Gordon when the Taranaki Daily News caught up with them at Vogeltown School yesterday.

This was Jack's third year attending the programme and he enjoyed it because it "got him out of the house".

Splashing at the pools and watching the latest movie were also among Jack's favourite activities.

For Spotswood College student Gillian Edwards, 14, the programme was about catching up with old friends as well as meeting new ones.

"I enjoy being with my friends," she said.

Tyla McNab, 13, has attended the holiday programme for the past five years because she can do "Zumba every time".

Idea Services co-ordinator Hannah Turner said the holiday programme offers children a safe place to meet peers with similar needs.

Parents were also appreciative as it allowed them to go to work or spend time with their other children during the holidays.

"It also provides much needed respite for families," Turner said.

Turner has two younger sisters with autism and knows just how "hard and demanding" it can sometimes be.

Youths learn useful life skills on the holiday programme and this Friday, they will be putting their heads together to plan a menu.

Learning how to catch a bus, budget for groceries and buy the needed ingredients allowed them to carry out activities their other peers usually did "without thinking", Turner said.

The holiday programme is free for eligible families.

Contact IHC on 0800 442 442 for information.

Taranaki Daily News