A.S.D (Autism spectrum disorder)
Have you ever seen an individual diagnosed with A.S.D (Autism Spectrum Disorder) skateboard? The beneficial effects of skateboarding for these individuals are phenomenal.
What happens commonly is that individuals with A.S.D do not have activities, like sport, to pursue. Thus, the individuals miss out on the experience of expressing freedom and communicating with others that sport provides.
The dynamics and rules of traditional sports make it difficult for individuals with A.S.D to participate and learn. The same applies for individuals with Asperger's Syndrome. Skateboarding allows these individuals to progress at their own rate without conforming to formal rules, time schedules, and the pressure of a coach and teammates. The tangible object of a skateboard (spinning wheels, curved surface) and the act of skateboarding (up and down ramps, gliding) represent novelty, different from conventional sports, that gain and keep the attention of the individuals with A.S.D.
Leading the way in connecting skateboarding to individuals with A.S.D is Crys Worley of A.skate (http://askate.org/).
A.skate creates skate clinics where dedicated volunteers help provide one on one skateboard lessons for the individuals with A.S.D. The families of the individuals do not have to pay for the service and all skateboard gear and safety equipment is provided. Above all, A.skate represents a safe environment where everyone is accepted. In this safe environment the individuals are gradually using social skills while realizing how to embrace learning something new. Check out the A.skate website because A.skate may be providing a skate clinic in your city!
Dean Svoboda of the Autism and Aspergers Friendship Society of Calgary writes,
"Any time kids do anything new, they gain new confidence. Every time a kid gains confidence or gains exposure to something they otherwise wouldn't try, that maybe snowballs into them trying other new things.”
What the skateboard clinics are doing is facilitating the path for individuals with A.S.D to function independently. The purpose of connecting skateboarding to individuals with A.S.D is not to turn these individuals into professional skateboarders. Rather, to introduce skateboarding as a form of an outlet so that when these individuals get older, they can find a sense of peace through their skateboard, despite the challenges of life.