Kids urged to stand on water

Youngsters with special needs will get a chance to try out stand-up paddle boarding.

Chatterbox, a local therapy and education center, is hosting a family-friendly paddle boarding event from 3 to 5 p.m. on Feb. 1 at Governor’s Beach.

Stand-up paddle boarding isn’t just a fun day at the beach: it’s also a great way to develop balance, coordination and overall athletic skills, according to the organizers.

“We wanted to find an activity that all children could access, that was outdoors and part of nature that would also help with skills such as balancing, motor skills, and help with communication skills,” said Roz Griffiths, a speech and language therapist with Chatterbox.

Ms Griffiths said the event was a success last year, attracting more than 10 families to the beach. “I really enjoyed seeing families together, having fun outside of the school or therapy sessions. I think the parents had just as much fun as the kids did,” she said.

Ms Griffiths described the benefits of ocean therapy for children with special needs, particularly for kids with autism.

“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. In many accounts, observers notice that autistic children seem to be at peace in or around the ocean,” said Ms Griffiths.

She also emphasized the importance of regular exercise for kids with special needs. “Exercise can help contribute to a child’s overall confidence, mental, emotional, and physical health and regular fitness training and exercise can prepare a young person for lifelong better health,” she said.

Ms Griffiths assures parents that stand-up paddle boarding is a “safe, fun and relatively easy activity to learn,” and provides “many wonderful benefits to special needs children.”

For more information, contact Ms Griffiths [email protected] or 926 1693.