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Surf 2 Heal & Freedom
Surf2heal teaches children with autism how to surf. It is an Annual Non-Profit Event run entirely by a team of committed volunteers who freely give their time, energy and enthusiasm to provide this service. Surf2Heal is continuing to go from strength to strength and enabling more and more young people to enjoy the ocean and its benefits. Freedom Surf School provides use of its facilities and equipment free of charge to this event.
Freedom Surf School partnered with Surf2heal in 2009 to bring this non-profit event to Tramore.
The Surf2heal programme begins at home when the parent explains to the child what is going to happen once they arrive at the Surf School.
Each child is paired with 3 to 4 volunteers who work as a team with the child. Before the surfing begins the child & parents get a chance to meet and talk to the volunteers. The parents understanding of their child is invaluable to the volunteers working with him/her. Parents will take their child to the wetsuit/changing area to get fitted and changed
On the beach, they will pick up their specially designed board and the team of volunteers will give the child instruction on the beach, explaining what the child will do in the water and on the board and then take him/her into the water.
Parents are asked to stay on the beach at all times. Each session lasts approximately 45 minutes. At the end of the session after the child has changed the volunteers look forward to saying goodbye to the children and stating when the next session is.
Surfing a form a Thearapy
Surfing provides a therapeutic recreation model to create a safe environment in which children can improve their spatial and body awareness, their strength and their confidence. . For a child with autism surfing is about being in the moment with minimal social interaction and sensory overload. The feeling of riding the waves in a secure and safe environment brings joy and freedom to the children who participate. Surfing is a unique experience and the volunteers work hard at unlocking the child’s potential giving them a chance to enjoy this extremely fun sport and to build the child’s confidence in their own abilities.
History of Surf2heal
Surf2heal is a programme originating from Garretstown, Co. Cork where a mother Nollaig Hayes found the sea had huge benefits on her autistic son. She approached a local surf school to provide a programme for her son. They travelled to America where there was a programme for autistic children called Surfers Healing which they then turned and brought to Ireland. This Programme has grown from strength to strength and is now occurring all over Ireland.
For more information on the National Organisation go to www.surf2heal.org
Freedom Surf School – Follow on programme
Building on the success and demand from this event Freedom Surf School has developed a unique follow on programme where family members and friends of the autistic child are trained to assist their child in learning how to surf.This successful programme is now in its 4th year.
Surf 2 Heal Gallery
TestimonialJust a note to say a big thank you to everyone at Surf to Heal and Freedom Surf School from Eleanor, who had a great time in Tramore at the weekend. You had to persevere with her, but by Sunday she had the focus and was really getting the hang of it. You have a great set-up there and the people to go with it. Best of Luck and we will hopefully see you again next year.
Jim & Helen Dwyer