Surfing programme yields positive change for children with autism
28 November 2019
Waves for Change (W4C), a local NGO that offers weekly surf therapy sessions to more than 1 000 children, is shifting the boundaries and opening new pathways for intervention.
W4C is a valued partner to the Western Cape Education Department and collaborates with various and diverse inclusive and specialised support programmes.
Beacon School in Mitchell Plain and Noluthando School for the Deaf in Khayelitsha participated in their surf therapy programme.
The organisation said the benefits of surf therapy for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) include an increase in confidence, improved ability to identify and regulate emotions, as well as improved relationships with peers and adults.
W4C’s surf therapy programme is underpinned by five key pillars, namely caring mentors, a (physical and emotional) safe space, a fun and challenging task (that is surfing), a mindfulness curriculum that teaches coping skills, as well as connection to further opportunities.
Noluthando School Principal Ayanda Ncinane said the therapy sessions boosted learners’ self-confidence. “When they attend surfing they also interact with each other and their coaches, which is something they struggle with. Ever since they started attending Waves for Change, there is a big change in their social behaviour and interaction. They can now play as a team and that was rare before. It also improved their gross motor skills. There is a huge improvement now, thanks to Waves for Change.”