Surfers For Autism | Salt Life

Surfers For Autism | Salt Life



surfing for autism is a fun place for over 11 years it's a life-changing experience anyone that has a child with autism if they can get him to the beach and get them in the water here they will see a difference it's my life that's be here and surf so what does it do that's a great question there's there's definitely something going on I was with a child he's about eight or nine years old we took him out and he was just ear to ear smiling loving it or saying you're a surfer you're a surfer and we come in we hold the board up and the parents take a picture and the one child just blurted it out she was surfer and the parents they just lost it they just start crying and and I didn't know what was going on this is my first event ever and they said he was nonverbal completely nonverbal before that and that was the first thing he said he's a surfer it was an absolutely incredible experience after that point I was like I'm going to every single one surfers for autism started with a surf club down in Deerfield Beach it started with a couple children now it's grown to 200 children and it continues to grow that first year there was one event second year there was three events and now there's you know 10 to 12 events a year SFA's kind of creative community given me the village to help me raise my child sorry it makes me emotional sometimes I've cried tears of joy at a lot of these events it's amazing because this is a place for all of the parents understand nobody judges you nobody looks at you funny because you're kids having a meltdown or your kids stimming and everybody is loving and accepting and it's the one place where you go and find your people we all kind of consider it our therapy we love getting together we share stories we just haven't that sense of family there are things happening out here that that I wish the scientists would come and put some science to I was in a Doctor of Nursing Practice program so the DMP for my program for my dissertation my scholarly project I decided to do enhancing social integration for children with autism through the use of therapeutic surfing so it may be the tactile stimulation I think that's a big part of it personally but science can't pinpoint it and say that's it but definitely something going on here that's been beneficial for these kids so [Applause] all the kids are on different levels of the spectrum some may not have autism some may have Down syndrome or some may just be handicapped and they want to get out and they want to get on a surfboard I've seen a child be this is a stimulant and they look this is his tic but then when he gets a win the water and he gets out of the water he doesn't do anything he's like totally Bello for the time I've seen the child be nonverbal but then talk say something to his mom even if it was just a word he stood a few times in the last five years but he's definitely gotten his confidence and he looks forward to coming to every event and getting you there and trying your best jock mound no matter what level that they're at you know they have this beautiful smile and it is it was really impactful and it's it's something that you can try and try and try to explain but until you're there in that moment and you see that child or you see that a parent who never thought that their child would have the ability to do that it's it's life-changing Damien Richter he actually he's 15 he's been following the tour for about ten years I've been started surfing since 2008 when I was 5 years old I got excited said heard about the therapeutic benefits of surfing for kids and often it's part of my life so it makes me good at it and I like to be a competitive surfer because I originally I'm surely afraid of surfing though but not anymore he wrote in that first wave on his knees the biggest smile on his face from ear to ear we can see the therapeutic benefits that it has right now and that they've had for the past at least ten years from you know when Damien was five until he's 15 and how much it's helped him grow you know mama doesn't surf buddy will take anywhere from 30 to 40 children sometimes 50 depending on how many volunteers we have the Waterman will go out with the child on the board and they'll pick the waves to use to surf to push them in and then the two other or three other people will make sure that the child would love water and just help them if they fall off the board or touch the board and we'll get them back out to the Waterman like to fall off and you got if it's something that works for you know that child then why not try it we've created something very unique if I'm still trying to figure it all out we're not just coming for one day with making sure would [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause]

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