Autism Eastern Cape committee member Rudi Harmse has contacts in Australia who run a Facebook group, “Aspierational, inspiring people with Aspergers and ASD”. It’s an uplifting look at how people living with Asperger’s and other autism spectrum disorders have excelled in various fields.
Like Clay Marzo, one of the top surfers in the world. He also happens to be an
Aspie, as was highlighted in the documentary, Just Add Water.
Marzo also has taken part in Surfers Healing, one of the recently posted items on the FB group “Aspierational, inspiring people with Aspergers and ASD” . Surfers Healing is a foundation for autism founded by Israel and Danielle Paskowitz in California a few years ago. Their son, Isaiah, was diagnosed with autism at age three.
Like many autistic children, he often suffered from sensory overload– simple sensations could overwhelm him. The ocean was the one place where he seemed to find respite.
A former competitive surfer, Israel hit upon an idea – with Isaiah on the front of his surfboard, and Izzy steering from the back, the two spent the day surfing together.
Surfing had a profound impact on Isaiah and Israel and Danielle decided they wanted to share this unique therapy with other autistic children. They began to host day camps at the beach where autistic children and their families could be exposed to a completely new experience of surfing.
Today, the camps are subscribed to their limit in the United States, where they started, and attract the help of icons of the sport such as Kelly Slater – and Clay Marzo.
South Africa has its own amazing surf culture: how about one or two local surfers volunteering time to do something like this for our kids, right here in the Eastern Cape?
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