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Alex Douglas-Kane shares her experiences and understanding of Discover Nature Awareness

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Tracking with Asperger’s and ADHD

I would like to share with you some tracking experiences I had while working with young men who presented with ADHD and Aspergers and my hope to be able to use tracking as a therapeutic intervention.

My first experience with Aspergers was I went tracking one day up to the sand dunes near to where I live with some young men and several adults, the idea for the day was to see how these young men would get on with tracking.

I asked one of my colleagues to go and hide anywhere in the dunes without us knowing where he went. After taking the boys through some basics off tracking, we set to have fun in locating my colleague who was hiding. And being as we were tracking in sand it would prove a not to difficult medium to work with for the boys, who presented with Aspergers and or ADHD.

I asked my colleague to set up some critical points along the way, these where places were he would stop for a while to make a decision as to which direction to go in, he was instructed to move around a bit looking for the best way to go and I would use these points to ask the boys questions, like "what happened here"?

As we followed the trail we came across an area of fouled tracks, I could see his boot tracks in and out; however one of the boys could actually see the tracks in amongst all the other tracks. I could not see a thing a short while after leaving the foul tracks behind the same boy then said that we were no longer following the same boot print.

So we took a closer look at it, we measured it as we had already taken measurements from the first track with our tracking stick and sure enough and to my surprise, we were following a different person with the same tread on their boot as my colleagues and there was only a small difference in size. How random is that.

Another time I was with a group of boys who were following the trail laid for them until they lost it. I encouraged them to spend time trying to work out what had happened and to see if they could pick up the trail again.

What happened next for me was wonderful, theses boys find it hard to stay still let alone focus on one thing and here they were, all three of them sat by a footprint for twenty minutes discussing what might have happened, working together by asking members of their group to go off and check mole hills etc for tracks that look the same as the track they were following.

They were in fact on the wrong track, but the value of letting them problem solve and work together far out weighted the task of tracking, which we were able to pick up latter anyway.

That, for me was one of those magic moments in life.
Picture: San Bushmen Tracking.


sam_acw said...

Sounds great, ADHD is one of those things which is so hard to classify r deal with. Sometimes it is about creating a need and positive atmosphere to act in.

Wild Tracking said...

Hi Sam

Thats so true and sometimes that is all that is needed for a postive outcome and research is showing that nature is the way forward.

I hear you say "so whats new" :D