Surfers Healing has had profound affect on my family entire family. We began our journey three years ago, when the boys first were diagnosed with Aspergers. Little did I know that Theresa, an acquaintance would leave such mark on my life. In fact every member of TASA has been remarkable. I am not sure where my kids would be if it wasn’t for the strength, wisdom, and for those mothers putting a lighter under my butt. Telling them “Thank you,” will never be enough. It is because of them, I owe it the families like ours to help where I can, when I can.
It was Theresa who told me about Surfer’s Healing Mini Camp. I remember telling her.”It sounds fun.. but I donno if that’s such a good idea. My kids don’t listen, the run away, they bite, they kick, Zeke refuses to bathe and is deathly afraid of the water”. She more then just urged me. She has this way.”Come on guurrlll.” You can’t argue with her, because you know she’s right. How can you argue with a 5′ engineer-filipino, when you know she’s right? You can’t. She’s so logical, she gets you at every turn. I was kinda childish kicking my feet in the sand, “ookkkkk Miss. Theresa.” Ok, maybe not that bad, but she does have this way about her. Anyone who her, know’s exactly what I’m talking about. So taking a leap of faith we went.
I was verging on tears the whole day. Gabe was excited and it was the first time I had ever seen him that at peace. Being on the water was Gabe’s Zen. And I knew in that moment, I was doing the right thing. Now Zeke was another story. Zeke screamed bloody murder like someone was cutting his head off. You could hear him even out in the distance, in the rain and above the crashing of the waves. It took everything out of me not to jump in the water to rescue him. I remember her looking at me. “He’s good. He’s good.” I’m sure she saw my fear in my eyes.
Three years later. It is shocking how much my kids have grown. There stemming is mostly under control. Zeke is talking. They are helpful. Mostly polite. They are wonderful swimmers. Zeke loves taking showers now. Bye-bye are the days of trying to bathe cats instead of children. Sports has never been their strong point, unless you consider legos a sport.
Sonya, Scott, & Christian, local surfers, who we met through Surfers Healing, have been on this journey of ours the entire way. In July, we were attending another mini camp, Sonya let Gabe surf for the first time by himself and it was amazing. He didn’t quite stand up. By the end of the day, he had caught the surfing bug. All he could talk about was how much he wanted lessons and wanted a surf board. Hessitant, at first. I found out through Suzi, another mother with two boys on the spectrum who caught the surfing bug through Surfers Healing, that there was a pretty good surfing school. The Seth Broudy School of Surf who was really great with special needs kids. Like Theresa, I had no idea when meeting Suzi on FB three years ago how much of an impact she would make on my life. Taking another leap of faith, we signed Gabe up. But first I thought swimming lessons were in order.
If the boys are going to get serious about this, they need to swim well. Well honestly, learning to swim when you live on the water is not a want, it is a must. I never thought they would listen or corporate or were mature enough to listen to an instructor. This was the year for it. The boys soared through those lessons. I had no idea where they were at, I put them both in Level 1. By the time Gabe was done they had pushed him to Level 4. Gabe had to dive of a diving board into 12ft water & swim the length of the pool to pass. I was shocked. I had no idea he could swim at all.. not a lone so well or so fast. Zeke was pushed to Level 3. Again, this was the kid just a month ago who would barely take a bath, not a lone swim. Zeke almost made it to Level 4, but he had to work on his back stroke.
After two weeks of swimming we did a week of surfing. Zeke decided he didn’t want to surf just yet. Which was cool. I mean he is only 7 after all. Gabe is almost 9, and has been involved with Surfer’s Healing for 3yrs and just now taken a real intrest in surfing. So maybe next year he will be ready. To our surprise, guess who was their instructors? Sonya! Gabe was beyond excited. By the end of week Gabe was not only surfing on his own, but standing & catching most the waves himself.
Usually anything physical they avoid like the plague. So to see him surf with such easy, such joy, and with such confidence. It was like witnessing a miracle. Ok… I know that is pretty dramatic word. But it really was very dramatic for our entire family. I had no idea he was so capable. All those traditional sports he has never been able to do for some reason or another but here he is able to surf. It’s pretty freaking amazing. It reminded me that while they are far more capable then I or the world gives them credit for. I wont make that mistake again.
At the end of the day. They give the kids these metals. Gabe told because it was his first metal ever, it deserved a shadow box. And now that he knows how to surf he wants to teach other kids with Autism & Aspergers how to surf. My sweet sweet child. I hope he never looses that. I wonder if Scott will let him help out some how next year?
Here are some pics that my wonderful friend Suzi took, as well as some photographers at Surfer’s Healing. There are more pics on FB, but I haven’t found them all. There was a lot of people taking a lot of pictures.