Surfing and Autism

July 20, 2009 |

Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder that includes a wide array of symptoms. We do not know the cause of autism and we have no cure. Much has been learned and autism is certainly no longer viewed as a single disorder or entity. The emotional strain on a family can be substantial, particularly when resistance to an emotional or loving attachment occurs.

I have been reading more about the positive effects of surfing on some children with autism. As I am not an expert in this area I want to be careful and inform the public that autism is not my area of specialization. However, I have now read several accounts of how a child suffering from autism has a type of “awakening” after some time in the water learning how to surf.

Obviously, the surfing I am describing involves one to one work with a trained surfer who has a gift of working with children suffering autism. It is also true that by these accounts that the first part of the experience can be difficult as the child experiences a natural fear of the ocean and strangers. It might be most difficult for the parents who are watching with great doubt.

The reports indicate that after a short period of time the child with autism not only relaxes, but begins to awaken to life and the surroundings in a way not seen prior to the surfing experience. It is not known why or how this occurs, but perhaps the child’s brain is literally overwhelmed with stimulation which helps to soothe and foster interaction with others in the immediate environment. One parent even described his child as being able to speak and connect in ways he thought was impossible.

Perhaps Mother Nature provides us with some treatments in her own way. The majesty of an ocean whose water fills 80% of our planet might have some answers for the brain. Maybe it is the movement, the energy, the sound, the rhythm. Even if we do not fully understand why, the fact that we have anecdotal evidence for surfing bringing some children with Autism to a new awakening is reason enough to ask more questions.

2 Responses to Surfing and Autism

  1. Anonymous July 20, 2009 at 2:46 pm #

    imagine the realms of potential interaction between the arhythmic dance of waves and one who is either too closed/opened for the likes of the “normal” likes of the general pewbliks.

    but one doesn’t need a label such as autistic, to benefit from frequent immersions.

    you are close…. 3/4 salt water, body and planet ( but not rally 3/4s; a 3/4 covering, but we’re still pretty dang ignorant of components which create this thing called earth.) but there’s definitely relationship.

    now add the interaction of human and the energy release of the planets’ physical forces: the resulting wave water energy transfer from the winds…. from the……. well sure on and on to that dang butterfly in china….

    but there is not any other place on the planet where one may experience the power of that energy release, enough force to generate power for minutes in L.A…… there’s no other direct experience of this type of power/energy which the human may submit their body to over and over again. ….. and come up from a thrashing and think….. i’d like to do that again.

    kind of a meshing of the physicalness of our existence…… and this exchange, witnessing of this reality’s power …. could be responsible for considerable altered perspectives of those indulging the transfer of energy between wind water and earth…..
    weirdport worshuntun

  2. Anonymous July 20, 2009 at 12:57 pm #

    Why is this cause not accepted by you?

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