service user and support worker in Ty Aberdafen

Matthew is one of Tŷ Aberdafen’s younger service users who previously loved motorbikes, but since his accident he has been unable to fulfil his ‘need for speed’. To address this, the team at Tŷ Aberdafen arranged a trial for him at a Disability Ski Group, Ski4allWales (@ski4allwales) based in Pembrey Country Park, a dynamic and social group lead by a local independent neurophysiotherapist.

In addition to the social aspect, sit-skiing has been shown to individual’s core stability, head control and general levels of frustration. It provides a safe environment people to move out of their base of support thus challenging their dynamic balance, an essential part of gait re-education and transfer safety.

Georgina James, Physiotherapist at Tŷ Aberdafen, described what happened: “As soon as we arrived, Matthew was treated very much as part of the ‘crew’ and was included in the in-house jokes despite his communication difficulties. He was then quickly kitted up in his helmet, transferred to the sit-ski and connected to the ski lift to go to the top of the slope. At this point Matthew’s personality was clear for all to see as he requested to go ‘as fast as you can’!

As Matthew has elements of core stability and head control, whilst going down the mountain he was encouraged to lean to the side and control his head position whilst his instructor guided them down. As the session progressed it was evident that Matthew had started to compensate for the bumps in the slope, and was working hard to keep his head control and body centred. The session lasted an hour in total in which Matthew completed approximately 15 runs down the slope. The plan is for this to become a weekly session as part of his rehabilitation timetable and, in the future, for his young son to be invited so they can enjoy this activity together.

Read more about Matthew's story.