AWOW is an outstanding surfing organization of extremely caring, experienced, and committed volunteers, surfing instructors and therapists that have impacted in many positive ways the life of our son who is a person on the spectrum (ASD). Because our son has also other neurological conditions that limit him to participate in regular sports, prior to finding out about AWOW we could not even imagine that our son one day would be able to acquire the skills necessary to surf. Due to many sensory integration challenges, such as having defensiveness to the water or not being able to tolerate the water or the lack of mastering swimming skills because of a developmental coordination disorder, our son has had many disadvantages growing up despite the many therapies we have consistently provided for him.

In 2018, we first made it to the surfing event in Malibu along with an additional ABA therapist to provide support for our son in his efforts to experience surfing for the first time in his life. Needless to say, the event was super organized, accessible, and the volunteers and staff welcomed us by embracing us with kindness and assisted us to get situated into a safe and relaxing space for the entire family. The Malibu surfing event was definitely relaxing, therapeutic and transformative for our son.

This positive experience made our son feel safe and supported into what we consider his new community where he feels accepted without any judgement because even though he “does not look autistic” or “does not look disabled,” statements we often hear, our son now enjoys surfing and truly appreciates the opportunity he receives at each surfing event we get invited to attend, whether it’s Malibu, Huntington or Ventura beach.

We are willing to travel long distance, so that our son can spend time with other athletes and enjoy the calming yet powerful effects of the ocean under the care and supervision of the most dedicated surfing instructors. We trust our son’s safety and forever are grateful to the AWOW team for engaging our son in this memorable surfing experience. We’re looking forward to our next surfing event at Bolsa Chica!!!

Thank you and may God bless this organization so that other children with disabilities may have the opportunity our son has had so far.

-Celia