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Where wild things grow: Friluftsterapi as a preventative, health promoting, and sustainable method for children with neurodivergence in school, health care, family and leisure settings in Southern Norway

Magdalena Stempska

Imago Foundation, Poland

Magda Stempska is a project coordinator, initiator of social and transnational projects, as well as responsible for budget planning at the Imago Foundation. She is a mentor and a facilitator of outdoor programs for people with disabilities using Adventure and Wilderness Therapy methods. She is also a kayaking instructor. Since 2019, she has been introducing, developing and adapting Adventure Therapy programs for people with different kinds of disabilities at the Foundation. She has completed Adventure and Wilderness Therapy in Spain and the Czech Republic.

Magda Stempska - BAZA.jpg

(Dis)Connect to better understand -
Adventure and Wilderness Therapy for youth with disabilities.

We would like to share with the audience our good practices based on Adventure and Wilderness Therapy programs that are planned inclusively and in an accessible way so everybody can benefit as much as possible from what we invite people to participate in. We organize all of the activities at the Outdoor Activity Center – BASE CAMP, which supports people (mostly youth and young adults) with disabilities and their carers (through contact with nature and outdoor activities using Adventure Therapy and Wilderness Therapy). The center is located in Wrocław, but we believe that respite care can be active and fun, so we don’t spend much time indoors.
We have grown a community of young people with different types of disabilities, their parents and carers, and also assistants and volunteers. 
Our activities essential assumption is that contact with nature strengthens healing processes and emotional development, and at the same time it is a fun form of rehabilitation itself. What is important, these changes are made simultaneously on two levels: physical and emotional. To level the activities, we start with several-hour trips to the nearby forest, field games and cooking on a fire, and one-day trips on kayaks and rafts. The next stage is summer expeditions to continuously higher mountain peaks. Finally, we move on to winter expeditions to the mountains, learning how to survive in winter conditions, climbing rocks, and sleeping in tents. 
Participants are facing real challenges, taking real risks and broadening their comfort zone through development adjusted to diagnosed individual and group needs.

Where wild things grow: Friluftsterapi as a preventative, health promoting, and sustainable method for children with neurodivergence in school, health care, family and leisure settings in Southern Norway

Different way of doing - Climbing as a support for therapy for people with disabilities

We would like to present a support for people with different kinds of disabilities using the therapeutic climbing classes - both indoor (on artificial climbing walls) and in the rocks, close to nature. Therapeutic climbing is a part of a bigger project of ours - Outdoor Activity Center – BASE CAMP, which supports people (mostly youth and young adults) with different types of disabilities and their careers through contact with nature and outdoor activities using Adventure Therapy and Wilderness Therapy methods. 
We run therapeutic climbing classes for people with movement, visual, and intellectual disabilities, developmental disorders and for neurodiverse persons. Classes have inclusive character and are accessible for everybody who would like to give it a try. Classes consist not only of climbing but also elements of social skills training, hand therapy and Adventure Therapy methods.
We would like to share our view on challenges that every person experiences in an individual way while climbing and how to manage risk as a participant and as an instructor. We would like to give a better insight on how regular climbing can affect both mental and physical health in a holistic way - because for us it is a process where the most important is the way of negotiating with our fears, bodies and beliefs having professionals on one’s side (instructors, personal assistants and psychologists).
We believe that building self-agency through climbing may broaden our horizons and make us believe that we can manage any future challenges.

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