#OnePerfectDay for a family living with Autism


By Heather Arbeen; PEATC, Senior Information Specialist & Training Coordinator

If someone had told me 5 years ago that my favorite day of the year would be spent with 200+ children and youth on the Autism Spectrum, I don’t think I would have believed them. I think anyone who has spent countless hours in therapists’ waiting rooms may have their doubts.

But Surfers Healing is a truly joyful, uplifting experience.  The Surfers Healing Foundation’s hashtag, “#OnePerfectDay”, sums it up perfectly.

#OnePerfectDay you spend in the beauty of the outdoors, in sand and salt water.

#OnePerfectDay you spend watching your child receiving the “rock star” treatment from an army of volunteers, including the Foundation’s professional and professional level surfers.

#OnePerfectDay you spend watching your child riding the waves and surfing!

#OnePerfectDay you spend with your Autism ohana (Hawaiian for ‘family’).

#OnePerfectDay you don’t worry about getting “The Look” from people who don’t have Autism in their daily lives.

#OnePerfectDay you spend saying Mahalo (Hawaiian for ‘thank you’) to Israel “Izzy” Paskowitz for co-founding Surfers Healing with his wife, Danielle.

#OnePerfectDay basking in the smile of your child.

As a parent to a child with Autism, I sometimes have to take a breather and find refuge in my “Happy Place” … which is not so much an physical location as it is a feeling provided by the memories of the joyful experience of #OnePerfectDay a.k.a. Surfers Healing Virginia Beach camp!

At Surfers Healing, our family is able to re-connect to old friends, meet new ones, and best of all, witness Jake having an amazing surf experience!

So … “why surfing”, you might ask?

To quote Izzy and Danielle, “Here at Surfers Healing, our mission is to enrich the lives of people living with autism by exposing them to the unique experience of surfing … even though we had 4,500+ participants at our surf camps last year – and even though autism now affects 1 in 68 US children – we don’t think in thousands. We think in ones, because that’s where we can effect change. One child. One family. One day at the beach.”

Surfers Healing has also been a wonderful outreach opportunity for PEATC to share information about Special Education and interact with all the ‎Virginia families in attendance and to also provide information for non-Virginia families to locate their states’ Parent Centers.

For more information about Surfers Healing, please visit their website and Facebook pages.





#OnePerfectDay Photo Album

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