Leo Caught a Wave with Surfers Healing

I think we're going to have to move to San Diego. Or Hawaii. Somewhere Leo can be in the waves every day. Leo's San Diego vacation week started with him staying up until 1:30 AM, stimming, vocalizing unhappily, physically out of sync*, asking to go home. Now that he's been to the beach every day for four days straight -- topped off with a session with a gold-standard, intuitive local ABA therapist -- he is talking a blue streak ("I don't have lemonade; I have a shirt!"), physically in sync, happy, balanced -- and his constant requests is to go to the beach, not back to our [four year old] "New House."

Leo got to have a hell of a "go to the beach?" day today, thanks to the luminous Autism Supermom, whom I got to meet at BlogHer, and who invited us to today's Surfers Healing surfing event! 

I had heard about the organization before and about how wonderful it is for the participants, and Landon at ThAutcast recently wrote about The Swell Life, an Oprah show about the Surfers Healing founding family -- but I'd also heard it was near-impossible to get in, and our trips to San Diego aren't always planned in advance, so I never imagined Leo would be able to join up.

I know I overuse the phrase "best day ever," but when you have a kid like Leo -- a kid whose whole life is about how he keeps topping himself -- we have a lot of best day evers.


Leo was thrilled from the moment he walked into the waves with his team (above). Then he rode out to the waves with his surfing buddy. Seymour and I sat on the beach, remarking on much Leo must be loving bobbing on the waves on the surf board, and how it wouldn't be long before he slipped into the brine.

It wasn't long, not at all.

And then ... Leo was back on the board. And the board was riding on a wave.

And then ... Leo did it! Our boy surfed!

It was so awesome. Leo came bounding out of the surf, bursting with the kind of giddy glee that is usually accompanied by prancing or the shooting of cannons. Widest grin ever, with giggles plus peals of laughter. So, so happy, our boy.

You can't quite see the happy here, because we had to make him come out of the water. But the momentarily absent happy is reflected in our faces, because when Leo's happy, we're happy for him.

You can see some of the happy, below, as he lolls in his beloved surf.

So proud of Leo. So grateful to Surfers Healing and Autism Supermom and all the amazing volunteers and excellent families and our community that makes such things happen.

So happy.

*This is a euphemism, people.


  1. Anonymous5:35 AM


  2. I have happy tears and a great big smile for Leo and his surfing. And can certainly hear the joy in your voices in the video. Woot!

  3. Happy tears indeed! And I had JUST for the first time EVER seen The Swell Life and thought of Leo just a couple of days ago.

    I'm so happy for his BEST DAY EVER.

  4. my son participated in the san diego surfer's healing this past july and loved it as well!!!! i have my little 9 second video of him riding a sweet wave :)

    i'm glad to see your son enjoyed it as well! i hope that mine will be able to participate annually... and all of the volunteers were amazing!!!!!!


  5. It was such a great day and I am glad that I could help Leo and your family get to experience it. Leo was talking up a storm,, I love it!

  6. It sounds (and looks) like it was a fantastic experience, and I'm so glad it turned out to be a success! Love the photos!

  7. This just made me really happy. Now totally inspired to try Max in a surfer program!

  8. janice2:37 PM

    WOW, a california boy for sure. It looks so fun. i feel so happy for him and for all of you. and his speech sounds stupendous.

    Hugs to all.

  9. we were so fortunate to go here in NC... What a FABULOUS organization! So glad Leo got to experience it... It made our year!

  10. I just started watching their show last week! I'm definitely going to volunteer at an event. I don't know much about surf, but I know a ton about autism!

  11. My favorite is the last photo!

  12. It was the day of all days. Now that we're back home we've been talking to local surfers about the best spots for Leo, wetsuits, etc.!

  13. Looks SO awesome! What a big board! We love to post about events like this on our facebook and twitter because a lot of time they're going on all around and parents just don't hear about them.

    I'm so happy that you've found a place where Leo is excited to be- when we would get in the car to go to the store or anywhere, my 2-3 year old niece would ask "we go'in to mex- e -co?" because she had such fun in the pool and sand during a family vacation.

    If you ever need any additional resources, stop by & say hello http://fb.me/rethinkautism we love to support the autism community. :)



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