Enriching the lives of children on the autism spectrum by using a demolition simulator – L A Moore Ltd

Somerset-based demolition company L A Moore has been enhancing the skills of children on the autism spectrum by giving them the opportunity to use the National Demolition Training Group’s (NDTG’s) demolition simulator.

Recognised as an innovation by the Scheme Monitor, the demolition simulator try-out sessions were held at Fairwater School in Cwmbran, where L A Moore Ltd was working for Willmott Dixon.

The school has a specialist Language and Communication Base which supports children who have been diagnosed with ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder’. As part of Willmott Dixon’s “All Safe Week”, the company decided to involve the school and the special needs section in their programme of activities.

Joe Ready of L A Moore Ltd is an NDTG trainer and it was the company’s decision to promote the demolition industry to as many students as possible, recognising that one day they may decide to join the construction industry.

L A Moore’s Operations Manager, Patricia Schroeder said:

“It was decided that many of the children might benefit from the experience the demolition simulator could offer to them and the feedback confirmed this to be so. Joe is an ideal mentor and with his patience and skill, actively encourages children of all ages to participate in the demonstrations.

“Not only did the children operate the machine with skill and enthusiasm, but they also stated that the experience of having the builders/construction/demolition companies on site had been rewarding for them. They felt so lucky to have been given the opportunity.

“The photos confirm this, and we feel the simulator could benefit other children with the same condition going forward. In fact we’re hoping to present the project just after Christmas to children in Taunton. And just after that we are visiting some schools in Cardiff – these are all in areas in which we carry out demolition.”

School’s gratitude

A delighted Esther Nicolaou, Manager of The Language and Communication Base, Fairwater High School Cwmbran said in a letter of thanks to L A Moore:

“Firstly can I thank you for providing us with the opportunity to access your simulator. Our students all have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and struggle with changes due to this. Our new school being built could have caused immense issues for our students but the amazing support from the team of builders, through their site manager, has meant that what could have been a challenge hasn’t been one!

“Providing opportunities for students to visit the site, meet builders and access things like your simulator has not only helped the students deal with the up-and-coming new school, but provided them exposure to social situations that help with their social progression.

“The students had an amazing time using the simulator and Joe Ready (Health and Safety Manager) ‘got them’ straight away and adapted his approach to suit each individual child.”

She added:

“It was fascinating for us as staff to see how the students used the simulator. Students, who we believed would struggle, displayed amazing patience and superb hand-eye co-ordination; it proves that different situations can point out differing areas of strength and ability.

“The experiences our students have had through having the builders on site have been so rewarding for them and we feel so lucky to have had the opportunities. Thank you once again.”

The demolition simulator has also been used to engage with attendees at apprenticeship fairs, widening the exposure of the simulator and therefore enhancing the demolition sector’s reputation and image.

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