Surfing and Autism

Going to high school in Florida, surfers were all around and normal part of the makeup of life.  I wanted to be one and be with one and be in their world.  It was so sandy and effortless and tan.  And surf boys were cute.  So one day a friend of mine took a group of us to the beach (something we did a lot for the surfers to surf) but he taught ME how to surf on a longboard.  Well, let’s just say that it turned out to be not as effortless as I thought.  I don’t prefer salt water going in and out of every opening in my body, so it wasn’t really for me.  I wanted to be a surfer but learning how to surf was HARD and I don’t like being bad at things.  So that was it.  Tried it and it’s not for me.  Add surfing to the list of many other things I have tried and failed at such as soccer, card games, volleyball …

I don’t like HARD.  Really, more than that, I don’t like BEING BAD AT SOMETHING.  In our world of autism, once I tried out being Keller’s ‘mom-therapist’ I quickly realized it was HARD and I was BAD at it.  Now I am not being modest here; to be a ‘mom-therapist’ means you break from normal mom-mode and engage in therapy goals and games all the time.  It’s HARD and COMPLEX… and HARD.  So my go-to move was to just quit, but I can’t quit being Keller’s mom OR being his mom-therapist.  With early intervention for autism you need to use EVERY moment for therapy and growth.  Even my moments being a mom.  I am good at being a cuddle mom, I am good at being a knowing-every-need-before-it-happens mom, I am good at being laughter mom, and I am good at being take care of every-thing-you-need mom.  I am not good at being autism ‘mom-therapist’ mom.  But there are no take-backs in the world of special needs and this is something I am going to need to get good at.

Enter Bethany Covington, our ANGEL who came from Scottland, raising her own money, to do therapy for a week with us and get us all to see it from a different perspective.  Our time with her helped us all learn how to do therapy with Keller; even ME.  It’s complex and unnatural and hard, but it’s possible.  Something can even be hard and be good.

You don’t have to be naturally great at something to learn it, or even to dominate it.  We all have things in life where we have to push through even when it’s hard.  Surfing and special needs are my hard things.  How can you push through what is hard for you?