On Oct. 8 Naples Illustrated shared an upcoming event called "Surfers for Autism" which is exactly as it sounds. Not only is it a way for parents in the South Florida area to get support, but it helps introduce children with autism to surfing, with surprising results.
Not only has it been discovered that surfing is a fantastic way for children to learn gross motor skills such as balance, good posture, but it's a great sensory activity between the sights, sounds, and numerous textures that the beach uniquely offers. The activities that are offered are akin to those done in aquatic therapy. The kids are each assigned two surfers to help teach them the basics of getting out there, paddling, standing up, and eventually riding a wave if you want to, as well as learning to swim. The time in the water can be a great physical activity, not only in terms of exercise. It helps with cases of hyperactivity, in some cases improving someone's ability to concentrate on tasks following sessions in the water. Each event is filled with people, making for a social environment where children and parents/caregivers are given the opportunity to interact with one another in a fun atmosphere. The act of surfing can also be used as a form of therapy in terms of time and task completion.
While Surfers for Autism may only operate in the US, this nonprofit organization hopes to eventually partner with places like Thunderbomb Surf Camp in Nicaragua to help children and those with autism in other areas around the world.
Last year, Surfers for Autism raised $10,000 toward scientific research. Because the group is a nonprofit organization, the depend on volunteers to staff and run events in the communities. If you would like to help by donating or volunteering, You can contact Surfers for Autism here.