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Surfing has changed ds1's life!

(49 Posts)
saintlyjimjams Sat 27-Aug-11 21:20:03

I could write a really long post now, but I won't. Although it will probably be longer than I plan.

I know I haven't posted on here much in the last few years so I'm not sure how many are still familiar with ds1. Ds1 is now 12, still non-verbal, still severely autistic, but in the last year (particularly this summer) he's been surfing a lot and it really has made such a huge difference to us all. Having something he can do, having something that calms him and is fun and run by a lovely bunch of people. He goes out with a fantastic (mainstream) surf school who give him 1:1 and usually an instructor goes on the board with him. They do a mix of giving him long rides into the beach, either pulling him to standing, or with him sitting on the board, but also we're now starting to try to get him surfing himself (this is slow, but we think he might eventually get there). I've started to learn as well so sometimes take him out, but he much prefers going out with a proper instructor.

I would never have guessed it could be something that ds1 could do, which is partly why I wanted to mention it here. It seems to suit many of those with severe autism/severe LD's which is perhaps something we wouldn't have predicted. My son who won't wait seconds for anything on dry land, will chill out and wait for a wave.

We organised for some kids from his respite centre to go out as well and that was really successful to the point where some of the other teens have started going regularly. Again this was something that their parents didn't expect.

Lifeworks, a learning disability organisation run Breaking the Barrier surf taster sessions each year in a few different areas.
www.lifeworks-uk.org/bbeventdetails.html This was how ds1 was introduced to surfing initially - he attended three sessions (one a year) before he started going out with the surf school. I think he's been at least once (and often more) every week this holiday and he asks for it every day. The days he hasn't been he's asked to go to the beach to walk the dog and then has been sat in the surf school van. Sometimes he even gets given a ride in their vans (they really are absolutely fantastic with him).

So really just to say if you fancy giving it a go and want any information/have any questions feel free to ask or PM me. I'd really recommend it as something worth trying.

pleasestoplying Sat 27-Aug-11 21:27:31

We know each other, jimjams, but I've not been on here for ages either. Just wanted to say that I'm really pleased the ds1 has carried on loving the surfing so much and especially developing the waiting. Is it helping with the violence too - do you see less pinching etc.?

Great news anyway smile

ProfessionallyOffendedGoblin Sat 27-Aug-11 21:28:21

That's wonderful!
Made me smile thank you for sharing.

saintlyjimjams Sat 27-Aug-11 21:31:16

Oooh who are you? No pinching at all now which is great. 2 years ago I finished the summer bruised from elbow to wrist. Nothing now at all now really. He pinched my MIL this summer but that was the first time in ages - and she does always give a good reaction which I think he remembered, he giggled and I think only did it once.

He still bites himself sometimes and hits himself but much less when we're surfing. One session we drove there with him shouting all the way (because I'd gone straight from respite rather than taking him home first) as soon as he was in the water he completely relaxed and chilled out.

He's very sensory seeking and I think surfing really gives him feedback and pressure his body needs.

coff33pot Sat 27-Aug-11 22:05:43

That is lovely to read smile Thanks for letting us know.

DS is only 6 and cant swim yet but his favourite way of chilling out is either lying down in a bath of deep water or just plainly standing in the sea with the waves going round him so it must be a lovely sensory feeling smile

saintlyjimjams Sat 27-Aug-11 22:15:45

ds1 doesn't swim all that well (he doesn't really quite understand that you don't swim upright!), but to be a surf instructor you have to first qualify as a surf lifeguard which helps! Sometimes the kids wear buoyancy aids as well. You'll have to try him one day coff33 smile

A few years ago a father wrote something in the Guardian about this son surfing http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2006/dec/03/health.lifeandhealth the guy Elliot Zuckerman mentioned in the article is the chappy who came over here and taught the surf school we go out with.

saintlyjimjams Sat 27-Aug-11 22:16:17

oh hang on keep forgetting to tick the box (all changed since my day :granny bloggssmile link again; www.guardian.co.uk/society/2006/dec/03/health.lifeandhealth

coff33pot Sat 27-Aug-11 23:49:48

Thanks thats me in tears grin what an amazing story.

Polzeath would be an easy drive for me too, shame he isnt quite old enough yet. smile

bedheadz Sun 28-Aug-11 00:06:10

Thats lovely made me smile

Chundle Sun 28-Aug-11 07:03:08

My dd1 goes surfing with me she's only 7 and can now ride herself. I agree it's an excellent way to calm kids with SN. It's great for burning off SSS energy

saintlyjimjams Sun 28-Aug-11 08:50:18

Yes agree chundle. Ds1 has to be tethered to me near a road, can't play football, will only horse ride for about 10 minutes tops before he gets off, alys hads loads of energy. He heads out surfing for over an hour (has done 2 hours before) and it really does use energy. That was something the respite centre said about the kids they took who are often on harnesses when out and about outside. It gives them freedom they just don't have elsewhere.

Coff33 - have a go next year. smile Or we're in Devon so if you ever want to go with the surf school we use (who take from any age) just pm me. I'm going to be looking for some funding for next year for regular surfing for kids with LD's. I think our council are going to fund some (they heard about the resoite day).

There's also the charity freedom surf in cornwall. (who I have never tried)

I'll link to our surf school later when I'm back on a proper computer.

Ineedalife Sun 28-Aug-11 16:45:39

I just wanted to say what a lovely thread. I wasn't around when you were posting before saintly but it sounds amazing what surfing is doing for your Ds.

I posted in Friday night that Dd3 who has no Dx but is being assessed for AS spent most of last week tumbling around in the waves in cornwall. She can't surf but sometimes has a go on a body board. She just enjoys being in the waves.

The sea is a powerfull thing in more than one way isn't it.

Hope your Ds continues to enjoy his surfingsmile.

PipinJo Sun 28-Aug-11 18:35:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PipinJo Sun 28-Aug-11 18:37:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

saintlyjimjams Sun 28-Aug-11 19:31:06

Lol - I don't think we're heading for the Olympics or even a career, but it is good he has something he enjoys so much. Has made a massive difference. He was working out how to swim on his back today - I think like most things he'll have to work it out for himself smile and such lovely people who take him - I am so so grateful to them.

coppertop Sun 28-Aug-11 21:41:54

It's great to hear how well your ds1 is doing. He's come so far now, hasn't he?

I must confess to a slight snigger though about pinching MIL, thinking back to threads about her from ages ago. grin

magso Mon 29-Aug-11 18:12:48

Oh Jimjams I remember your posts (and joyful pictures) when DS1 first tried surfing. Oddly I was reminded of it last week (just got back from holiday) because ds now 11 ( who used to be afraid of waves) asked to try surfing! Wonderful surfing is great for DS1- and nice to hear an 'old voice!

anonandlikeit Mon 29-Aug-11 18:58:22

I remember a couple of years ago (i dont know what name i was using then) you posting asking for ideas for activities your ds could do.
At the time i think you were taking him on to the moors for exercise.
So pleased he has found something he loves.

saintlyjimjams Mon 29-Aug-11 19:47:08

Ok here goes, YouTube video from today. I may get this deleted later

He ha a slightly furrowed brow because he was constantly trying to get the instructors to paddle him to the next beach, or to France grin He has watched this over and over again tonight.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=gme5PEA_ONw

saintlyjimjams Mon 29-Aug-11 19:48:13

I remember than anon - I spent the whole time stumped trying to work out what to do with him. By this stage of the holidays I was usually covered in bruises (as was he from self injurous behaviour). Honestly it has made such a difference.

anonandlikeit Mon 29-Aug-11 20:10:26

thats fantastic, he's loving it, (& the instructors aren't bad either) ds1 (the nt one) said thats well cool, awsome!
I can imagine it would be something that both of mine could have a go at, it looks really inclusive iykwim.

saintlyjimjams Mon 29-Aug-11 20:15:08

Really inclusive. The instructors are all absolutely wonderful- they are so good to him, drive him around in their 4wd, let him sit in the van, and in their cars and on their motorbikes, drag him out of other people's cars when I am distracted by my dog grin . Such lovely, lovely people.

saintlyjimjams Mon 29-Aug-11 20:16:04

And yes - ds2 and ds3 go out as well - they both want surf boards for xmas!

sphil Mon 29-Aug-11 22:26:52

Made me laugh about the swimming upright thing - Ds2 does this as well (with armbands). I met a teacher of autistic teens in the pool the other day (she clocked Ds2 within seconds grin) and she was saying that most of her students still swim upright. Ds2 just likes floating - no interest at all in moving from A to B.

saintlyjimjams Tue 30-Aug-11 12:23:15

Although weirdly, I took him swimming on Sunday and he swam on his tummy!!! So the sea must have had an effect. The surf instructor in the video has done quite a bit of swimming in the sea with him this summer - ds1 wraps his arms around his neck (!) and off they go. DS1 tried the same technique with ds2 who very unimpressed (he does the same to me as well and it's pretty hard work).

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