We arrived at the beach with all of Franklin's favorite reinforcing snacks and toys for him to be enticed to sit on the sand -not to close to the ocean but close enough to see and hear it. He did great, he sat between us on his own chair quietly enjoying an entire bag of Lay's BBQ chips until his turn came.
I put his wetsuit on, and rash guard - bright yellow so we could see him out in the water and then a life vest in case (God Forbid) he fell off the surf board. So we waited down by the shore for a few minutes for his turn, and Franklin was starting to get anxious and whiny because the water was splashing and there was a ton of activity and noise down there. Well here comes a volunteer calling his name, I said "here we are", and the guy said "Hi Franklin" - ripped him (literally ripped him out of my arms) and ran out to meet a surfer in the water, and they plopped Franklin right up on the board and were paddling out 5 seconds after tearing him from his mommy.
I stood on the shore excited, scared, dumbfounded and sad and so happy that he went without too much trouble. He had a little trepidation. He had 3 really long amazing rides on the shoulder of the most buff surfer I've ever seen in my life, and then he stood on the board for a little bit on the last ride in. He got off of the surf board smiling, and I could see the large crack that was put into the shell of Autism that encapsulates my sweet boy from the rest of the world. As they handed me back my little surfer boy he looked in my eyes and was babbling all the way back to our beach chairs, and when I was talking to him at our site he looked me in the eyes the whole conversation and was attending to all I said and allowed me to kiss him on the lips (usually he just gives me his forehead). It was by far my most favorite day as a mom.
I can not say enough about the men and women that put this event on. What an incredible group of people that started this to help these children. They are heroes in my eyes and you can read more about the organization at their website Surfers Healing - to my East Coast pals they are coming your way this summer if you want to truly feel happy go watch a day of this camp and see the change in the children with Autism from the start of camp to the end of camp. Unbelievable. If I had not seen it in others including my own child I would never have been a believer. I have been fed and told so much crap about what will and what won't work for Autism that I am a huge skeptic. But I will tell you I brought home a more peaceful and different child last night than what arrived at Doheny Beach.
I can't wait to get him out there again. Make a donation to them if you can, this great group is all volunteer and relies solely on donations to have these events for the children.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the video