Surfers Healing and Surfers For Autism

Has anyone taken part in any events with these organizations?

I have a son with Autism. He is four. I typically surf cold water, but my next family vacation to warm water will include taking him surfing. I can’t wait. When he is older, I plan on getting him involved with one of these organizations. If he doesn’t enjoy it, I imagine I’ll still go and help out at an event.

Anyone done it? What did you think?

One of my 3 year old grandsons is Autistic and he has massive adrenalin highs when hes on a board.

Even when he steps into the water he shakes with excitement and a little wave on a booger makes him raise his arms in exaltation and supplication...its like hes saying... "jesus did you see that!, did you feel that !! Man what a freakin' buzz !!!"   Its like hes letting out the stoke that we keep inside.

He never tires of the thrill and like all of us, he sleeps well after a day in the surf.

  For all the differences of Autism theres a lot of honest emotion and pleasure he shares with us. Surfing is our common ground now.

He'll probably never work a day in his life but he will surf every day its possible for as long as I live. 

i have never done it i have seen it though, it took place at my local break and it was awesome! so much stoke on so many faces and everyone is really just there to have fun and smile. i would definietly give it a try, i did not even know it was going on and was not involved but i couldn’t help getting stoked and yelling out hoots when i saw kids catching waves. was a really fun day.

Surffoils, I can say that’s the first time I’ve teared up reading a Swaylock’s post. Sincerely, thank you for hitting home. You have just re-ignited my motivation to make this happen sooner than later. 

jc, Ive got a few decades of nursing behind me so Im the logical one to teach our guy. Im with him all day, every day and its a matter of building on each days lessons. Just like every child they learn by repetition but our grandson has some involuntary actions and emotions that are a bit unusual for someone his age; overt emotions and hand flapping but at the same time hes a gifted piano player.

 I use ABA techniques to get him comfortable with water.. first in the bath, then the shower so hes used to getting his head wet/ underwater, then in the paddle pool, then the ocean pool, then the shorey on a calm day. Now hes jumping around in knee deep waves and learning to swim.

 Day by week by month he learns, slower than other kids but theyre all different. Hes non verbal but understands signing and we communicate with body language/ mimicry.

 Locally theres a day here similar to the Surfers Healing/ Autism event that you mention, Tom Carroll and a host of pros pushing kids into little waves on foamies and everyone has fun and learns something.

 PM me if you like.

My wife is an autism therapist, this past summer she would take one of her charges to the south jetty in Oceanside to “surf” in the warm sandy bottomed waves. The little guys looked soooo forward to their sessions, even bragged about what a good surfer he had become 

The Surfers for Autism events here in Florida have been very much worthy of support, I have heard only positive things...

Coil has donated a board or two for the cause.

I received an invite to attend a Surfers for Autism session in Florida via a facebook friend.

The organisation would certainly notch up another connected participant, if I was'nt so far away in Australia. I have a 5yo son who has autism. Its unpredictable what will freak him out. He will NOT set foot in my workshop, with stuff hanging overhead in the rafters, and I have a mirrorball in the garage - when it's rotating in the sunlight he actually stands fascinated but petrified. Things like that.

I took him surfing, clinging onto the nose of a longboard when he was one, but now he won't so much as walk on sand. I hope to be able to help him overcome this!



Great to see that Swaylocks harbors some generous people willing to help others.

 Autism affects about 1 in 160 people but a lot more are undiagnosed. It affects people of all races, incomes and some autistic children grow up to attend university or own their own businesses. Its not a disease and can be treated. Our guy started classes at 2 years old and he fought it at the beginning but now he drags me down the hallway each morning to start his 3 hour session and every single day he progresses in some way. He starts formal schooling in a year and hopefully will transition into a standard school a year or two later. He will be royally pissed off when he figures out "school" means he cant go surfing every day.

In Australia, the federal government thru a department called FAHCSIA  hands out $12 000 p.p to help with treatment, and assistance in the form of  an ongoing parent/carer payment of >$300 f/n is available for the asking. I hope everyone is taking advantage of the free funding and assistance thats available in your area/country.

 PM me if youre in AU for more info.

Hey foils...yes, my wife and I are now fully versed in the machinations of that Govt. dept - our lil' guy is in a normal primary school with a fulltime assistant teacher. He's doing OK.


My laptop was a replacement funded by that dept. after the lad gleefully tipped the contents of his water bottle on the other one.


I think if I do myself a longboard, It'll be for him and his siblings to tandem with me.



Got to say it’s the first time  I’ve teared up here reading a post here, although there have been a few tears in my house lately.

I too have a 3year old son, just diagnosed with Autism.

Josh, glad to hear your young fella is doing well at school. It’s early days for us ,  our son used to love the ocean and now won’t go near it !!  


My wife is one of those miracle workers, isn’t afraid to get on the childs level, she’ll work on it until she finds what out takes to break through to her students. It used to be by law, a one one relationship of therapist to student, now with the budget cuts the schools all take a blind eye approach and have 3 and 4 children to each therapist.

She rotates to different schools from time to time, she comes home chewing nails and spitting rust some days, the class room teacher will say that she/he doesn’t believe in ABA. Then there are the Jenny McCarthy’s that have “cured” their children of Autism.


When I do a good job around the house, I get praised for it, “good Job Jimmie, you put your plates away”,Good listening, good old ABA and descrete trial for husbands too

close to 20 years of working with autistic kids and have found water therapy to be a very positive experience in just about every instance, be it on a surfboard or in a pool.

Hey Silverbak - The diagnosis took us through some heavy emotions for sure...I wanted my lad to have the best chance possible at being normal. I'd gotten used to his strange behaviors, but the assessors report was far far worse that I'd have imagined.

The worst was my mom trying to lay blame - on the midwives, on my was unhelpful to say the least.

And school, well as you say, it's early days - We agonised over whether he might be better off at the specialist school he was eligible, which one was his best advantage?

So we took him to visit both schools, and then asked him.








I’m hearin you mate. Most of my family are in either denial, or blame ?

It would also seem many people just do’nt understand, oh he’ll grow out of it !!

So yeah, i do understand the difficulties.

I guess we just have to be as strong as we can, coz we are all they have.

Hey Silverbak, I'll take some time to respond to your PM in not-too-long a while. I would have some witticisms to share...