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Surfing for Autistic Children? A Look at Surfer’s for Autism

surfing

Children with autism, like typically developing children have an array of skills and abilities. Unfortunately sometimes autistic children would like to participate in sports like surfing, but are offered very little opportunity to do so—Surfer’s for Autism is changing that.

What is Surfer’s for Autism?

Surfer’s for Autism is a non-profit organization “dedicated to the introduction of the sport of surfing to children with special needs.” They have been introducing children and adults with autism to surfing since their first event in 2008. These events provide families with a fun-filled day of activities including paddle boarding, kayaking, music, face-painting , and games. Surfer’s for Autism raises money for autism awareness and research, and their events are made possible by dedicated volunteers.

Where are they located?

Surfer’s for Autism has organized events along the Florida coast since 2008, and recently held their second annual event on Carolina Beach in Puerto Rico.

How Does it Work?

The events take place on Florida beaches throughout the year and are free for registered families. Children are guided into the water by two to four skilled surfing instructors where they are helped up onto the surf boards and allowed to ride the waves back to shore. The instructors provide a safe learning experience for the children who can ride as many times as the allot timeframe will allow. Surfing begins around 9 a.m. and continues until 4 p.m. Families are treated to additional activities, live music, and food while spending the day on the beach. If you and your child are interested in being a part of this great organisation and take part in all these amazing activities, be sure to purchase essentials such as reef flip flops to buy online, a towel, sunscreen and a swimming costume, ready for your time on the beach. This is about creating memories for you and your child.

How Can My Child Participate?

Children with autism who are at least four years old, and young adults may register for upcoming events on Surfer for Autism’s website.. Registration opens about six weeks prior to a scheduled event. Upcoming events are announced on their main Facebook page.

How Can I Help?

Those wanting to help support Surfer’s for Autism can make donations on their website. Their ” focus is to eliminate stigma through public awareness and education and to unite communities through volunteerism.” Events are made possible by the generosity of volunteers. You can volunteer to participate in a surfing event by registering online.

Families with autistic children often struggle to find activities, and events appropriate for their child with a disability. Surfer’ for Autism events provides a family and community a time to enjoy the beautiful Florida beaches, while the children have the opportunity to get in the ocean and enjoy the waves. Learning how to surf can be a fun and rewarding experience. Children can show off their skills, and have a great time doing it. Surfing may have other benefits as well like improved cardiovascular health, and muscle strengthening (from wading, and balancing).

 

Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert, contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, on the autism spectrum.