Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Parent to Parent: Autism and Surfing
This spring break, a group of children with autism got an amazing opportunity, the chance to learn how to surf. More amazing are the benefits this surfing camp gave the children. Dr. Valerie explains in today's Parent to Parent.
WSVN -- For this group of boys, today is much more than just a day at the beach.
Hilda Mitrani: "So moving to see him on the board and to see the look of fun and to see the look of determination on his face."
Hilda Mitrani admits she is in awe after seeing her son actually surf. She knows the importance this milestone has in his life.
Hilda Mitrani: "They are so excited. When David came home after the first day at camp I said to him, 'David, how was camp today?' And he said, 'Cool.'"
The camp is sponsored by UM and NSU, along with Miami Beach's Park and Recreation Department. It has been such a success, organizers would like to take it statewide.
Julio Magrisso: "We have our life guards, train their life guards. We have University of Miami go and teach them what to do, learn from our mistakes and hopefully come every spring and every summer. We can service 300 or 400 hundred kids."
For these kids with autism, the opportunity to socialize, interact and be active is not only a fun experience but essential therapy.
Cindy Casanova: "If there is any type of behavioral problem, the minute they are in the wave it completely soothes them. It changes their demeanor."
Seven's parenting expert Dr. Valerie Goode says that water helps to soothe the sensory overload that children with autism experience. The physical activity such as surfing and the benefits are endless.
Dr. Valerie: "Being in the water and using their muscles, they totally involved themselves, and they are involved with the other children, which is excellent."
Dr. Valerie says getting children with autism involved in any sport will build their self-esteem. Also, being in a team will help them interact with others and build their social skills.
Dr. Valerie: "Giving them the opportunity to learn those kinds of adventures. Its really good for them."
For these 10 boys, the camp has given them an opportunity to connect with something they love.
Hilda Mitrani: "That's amazing for David to be so expressive and to making eye contact with you and to talk so well about what he likes about the camp. Thank you, city of Miami Beach, thank you."
Lynn Martinez: "If you would like more information about the camp you can contact the Card Institute at 1800-Autism, extension 1. They are already planning for the next one, which will be held in the summer."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dr. Valerie Goode