By Cathy Jameson
A day on the beach
Fulfilling one man’s vision
For kids with autism
To spend time surfing
Made for one perfect day indeed.
For some, autism is part of life 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. It takes no breaks. And it doesn’t go on vacation. For Ronan and for families like ours who have to juggle sensory issues, major communication delays, GI problems, and seizures day in and day out, sometimes we need a break from life. Surfer’s Healing gave us the chance to relax, to take a break, and to live, if only for a moment, like some other families do.
Every child is unique, and every child deserves a moment in the sun. –Izzy Paskowitz
Even though it is just for one day, when I found out that Surfer’s Healing would be on the east coast again this summer, I made sure to register Ronan for one of the camps. The day is like no other, and the people who make that day happen understand just why kids like mine need it.
It was through their experience of taking their son with autism surfing that Israel “Izzy” Paskowitz and his wife, Danielle, founded Surfer’s Healing. Since it began in 1996, Surfer’s Healing has given thousands of children with autism “a chance to encounter the waves, to challenge themselves, to try something new.”
But they do so much more than that.
From their website:
We take kids with autism surfing. We paddle out together on tandem boards to watch the waves that come our way. That’s what we do; that’s what we love.
On the surface, our contribution seems simple: each year, our volunteer-staffed camps give over 4,500 children with autism and their families a fun, engaging day at the beach.
But go deeper, and you’ll see that a quiet revolution is taking place. Through the simple act of riding waves together, we’re defying the status quo.
When we help kids get up on a board, we’re challenging preconceived notions of capability. When we encourage participants to dive in, we’re empowering them to engage with the world. And when we ride the waves together, we’re affirming that every person is a gift.