Friday, September 18, 2009

Surfing Helping Youngsters on the Spectrum

As the number of children with autism mushrooms, so too does the list of therapies for reaching the baffling world in which they live. From horseback riding to hyperbaric chambers, the methods are as diverse as the symptoms of autism itself.
But here's a therapy that surprises even the parents of autistic kids: surfing.
"When he caught his first wave, you should have seen him," said Robyn Serafine of Deerfield Beach, whose autistic 11-year-old son, Charlie Reilly, has limited verbal skills. "He was squealing and laughing — it was pure enjoyment. You could hear him 150 yards away."
Charlie first participated in a "Surfers for Autism" event last year in South Florida, where the nonprofit began in late 2007. On Saturday, surf instructors are bringing the action to Cocoa Beach for the first time. Already, 100 kids with autism have been signed up by their families.

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