Paddle boarders storm the beach

Recent research has shown that there are a number of benefits to ocean therapy for children with special needs and in particular, kids with autism.  

With this in mind, Chatterbox, a local therapy and education center, hosted a family-friendly day of stand-up paddle boarding at Governor’s Beach, sponsored by MaplesFS.  

“It was a great afternoon with about 20 families turning up to have fun and try out a new skill,” said Roz Griffiths, Chatterbox manager and senior speech and language therapist.  

Autism is a developmental disorder that affects social and communication skills. Recent observations into nature and ocean therapy have shown an increase in cognitive and social skills in autistic children as a result of spending time in these natural environments. 

“We proved that kids of all ages can enjoy this upcoming sport and leisure activity and that it helps children with special needs to improve their balance and coordination skills, whilst meeting new friends and having a huge amount of fun,” said Griffiths.  

Stand-up paddle boarding is a fast-growing activity in Cayman, which people of all skill levels can enjoy.  

“Our youngest paddle boarder was just 3 years old, and one family had three generations in the water,” said Griffiths. “A big thank you to MaplesFS for their support of our stand-up paddle boarding events. We look forward to partnering with them again in the future to help bring fun to those who need it most.”  

In addition to speech and language therapy, Chatterbox provides occupational therapy, pivotal response therapy, clinical psychology and special education services, and training for parents and professionals, among other programs, all focused on enhancing communication, learning and language. 

MaplesFS CEO Scott Somerville said, “Community events like Chatterbox’s family fun days are key to the positive development of children with special needs living in the Cayman Islands.  

“Chatterbox provides an invaluable resource and support network for both children and their parents, and MaplesFS is honored to support the organization to continue their hard work for this worthy cause.” 


Paddle boarding is popular among many residents. – PHOTO: MATTHEW YATES