Surfing the Spectrum is a community-based surfing initiative, connecting people with autism to the ocean environment teaching the participants ocean awareness and promoting the benefits of surf therapy.
This is the fifth event of the Surfing the Spectrum Summer Series, targeting regional towns along the NSW East Coast. Emma Bracken from Ability Surf has been an advocate and supporter of surf therapy in the industry and with the added help from Soul Surf School, they have provided the support required to be able to bring this event to Lennox Head.
The event at Lennox Head Beach
This Saturday about 60 families of children with Autism will attend the event at Lennox Head Beach near the surf club to learn new skills and try out surfing. With limited services often available in this area Surfing the Spectrum hopes the event will allow the local autism community an opportunity that is frequently not made accessible to them.
Co-Founder, Director and paediatric occupational therapist, Aimee Blacker says that the awareness of the space around us is something we take for granted. ‘For most of us, our balance, vision and posture take care of themselves, but for people with Autism, their sensory systems are a continuous challenge, as they are constantly overloaded by sensory input.’
The ocean provides respite
‘Surfing enables those with Autism to learn to move fluently in challenging environments. The ocean provides respite from the constant attack their senses experience every day, allowing time for them to connect with their body in a fun, unstructured, exploratory environment.’
‘This event also includes the siblings of children with Autism, as we understand the sacrifices, time and love they put aside for their brother or sister with additional needs, often missing out on the joy of events such as this.’
Parents from previous events have expressed really enjoyed the program. ‘A last-minute decision turned out to be one of our best mornings ever at the beach,’ said one parent. ‘We are super grateful for all the wonderful volunteers, surfers and organisers of Surfing the Spectrum. There were smiles all round from everyone.”
If you have a family member with Autism or you are a member of the local surfing community and would like to be involved in this exciting uplifting and innovative program you are invited to contact Surfing the Spectrum via [email protected] to obtain further details. Registration opens three weeks prior to the event. Additionally, any local businesses looking for a sponsorship, or staff volunteer opportunity are encouraged to contact Surfing the Spectrum.