Youngsters with special needs are being encouraged to try out stand-up paddle boarding with Chatterbox, a therapy and educationcenter, at a free event from 3 to 5 p.m. Oct. 12 at Governor’s Beach.
Volunteers will be on hand to steady the boards and give some tips, so that the kids can try out this activity in a safe learning environment. Water, snacks and life jackets will be provided.
Roz Griffiths, a speech and language therapist with Chatterbox, described the benefits of regular exercise for children with special needs, including autism.
“Stand up paddleboarding is a great physical activity to keep both your body and mind healthy,” Griffiths said.
“It challenges your balance and core muscles constantly, it helps you build up leg strength in a low-impact way and by spending time on the water, it provides a great outlet to reduce stress and generally feel more calm.”
It also helps kids develop social skills and increase body awareness. Griffiths added that children can also explore and learn about the sea life that surrounds them and enjoy the sights, sounds and peacefulness of being on the water in this multi-sensory experience.
“There have been extensive observations and some research on nature and ocean therapy for use in autistic children that shows an increase in cognitive and social skills as a result of spending time in nature or the ocean,” Griffiths said. “In many accounts, observers notice that autistic children seem to be at peace in or around the ocean. The same can be said about spending time in the water on a paddleboard. It is a safe, fun and relatively easy activity to learn that provides so many wonderful benefits to special needs children.”
Email [email protected] or call 926-1693 for more information.