Surfing therapy for children with autism coming to region
SURFING the Spectrum is coming to Lennox Head to connect children with autism to the ocean environment.
About 60 families are expected to attend the event on the beach near the surf club on Saturday.
This is the fifth event of the Surfing the Spectrum Summer Series, targeting regional towns along the NSW East Coast.
The events aim to be fun while teaching participants about water safety and promoting the benefits of surf therapy.
Ability Surf's Emma Bracken, an advocate and supporter of surf therapy, and the Soul Surf School will provide the manpower required to oversee the Lennox event which kicks off at 1pm.
With limited services often available in this area, the community-based surfing initiative hopes the event will allow the local autism community an opportunity that is frequently not made accessible to them.
Surfing the Spectrum co-founder, director and paediatric occupational therapist Aimee Blacker said: "For most of us, our balance, vision and posture take care of themselves, but for people with autism their sensory systems are a continuous challenge, as they are constantly overloaded by sensory input.
"Surfing enables those with autism to learn to move fluently in challenging environments. The ocean provides respite from the constant attack their senses experience every day, allowing time for them to connect with their body in a fun, unstructured, exploratory environment.
"This event also includes the siblings of children with autism, as we understand the sacrifices, time and love they put aside for their brother or sister with additional needs, often missing out on the joy of events such as this."
Parents of children who have attended previous Surfing the Spectrum events have expressed their enjoyment.
"A last-minute decision turned out to be one of our best mornings ever at the beach" one parent told Surfing the Spectrum organisers. "We are super grateful for all the wonderful volunteers, surfers and organisers of Surfing the Spectrum. There were smiles all round from everyone."
If you have a family member with autism or you are a member of a local surfing group and would like to be involved in this program contact Surfing the Spectrum at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Additionally, any businesses looking to provide sponsorship and people looking to volunteer can email Surfing the Spectrum.