You might recognize Matthew as one of the smiling faces featured in our GoodLife Kids Foundation ‘Feel Your Impact’ video. After filming, we had the chance to speak with Matthew’s family and hear more of his story. It was amazing to learn how physical activity has made a difference in Matthew’s life beyond the program we witnessed. This is YOUR impact!
When you meet five-year-old Matthew, you’re immediately drawn in by his sunny personality and natural curiosity. He’s very inquisitive (he was enthralled by the camera during filming) and, like many young boys, he’s just full of energy!
That’s why adapted physical activity sessions offered through grant recipient Halton Down Syndrome Association are so important for Matthew and his family. “We want Matthew to have every opportunity to take part in the activities he loves,” said his mom, Lori. “But it isn’t always as simple as signing him up for whatever local recreation program is coming up next.” Children with Down Syndrome often have low muscle tone and delays in motor planning that can result in difficulties with balance and coordination. Matthew also has a fleeting attention span characteristic of Down Syndrome. The Sportball sessions are a great fit for his needs. They focus on breaking tasks into easily digestible steps, rotating through activities frequently to keep kids engaged and providing flexibility for each child to participate at his/her own level.
The impact of Matthew’s newly developed confidence and skills extends into his everyday life. Increased core strength helps him tackle stairs independently and ball sports have become a new favourite now that he’s learned to catch.
But one of the biggest changes has been in how he interacts with his classmates. As a frequent volunteer at the school, Lori has watched Matthew on the playground. “Before, you could tell he would hesitate to join in because he could never quite catch up,” she said. “Now at lunch he’s right in the mix with all of the kids, running around and having a blast playing games. It’s been an amazing transformation to see him gain that confidence.”
Matthew is just one of thousands of kids whose lives are healthier, happier and more active each year because of YOU and our extended GoodLife family. Thank you for changing lives!