When my sister with autism went skating

Posted on 06. Mar, 2018 by in autism, skaters

who eats fastest

Me and my sister

By Pat Cannon, LCA sophomore —

My sister always hated skateboarding because she thinks it’s a boy thing.

So I was surprised when she suddenly started riding at the A.skate Foundation, which teaches autistic kids ride the deck.

Alecia, 11, is mildly autistic. When I was younger and we hadn’t diagnosed my sister, I was getting yelled at all the time for doing older brother stuff that upset her. When she got diagnosed at age 5, things got easier for me because we learned the peculiarities of autistic kids. She needs a lot of special attention.

kids-with-autism-skateI got into skating at age 4. My sister, who thought I was annoying, decided skating was uncool.

Then my parents decided to take her to A.skate and got paired with a young adult skatergirl from the L.A. area, she slowly opened up to the wonders of the skating. At first, she contented herself with sliding down the ramp on her butt. But by the end of the afternoon, she was rolling around on the board on her butt — great progress!

santa-monica-autism-skaterMeanwhile, I was paired with a super energetic kid, Ethan, who knew already a bit of skating. He was mildly autistic. I didn’t need to hold his hand and run alongside him. He asked about how to do tricks, and I explained.

Through the activity, I realized autistic people are not much different. If you get to know them, they’re not weird, they’re cool.

When we found out my sister was autistic, my mom was originally scared. She didn’t know how to treat it.

She’s fine now. She’s made friends with a bunch of special needs parents, and she’s good at working with them.

askate-autism-skateboardI still get annoyed at my sister because she gets mad over nothing. And sometimes it’s nice because she’s super cool.

I’ve helped at A.skate three times now. They are an Alabama-based organization that runs free skate clinics around the country. Special needs kids get one-on-one training from local volunteers, like me. The organization supplies boards and protective gear. In addition to skating, A.skate offers an anti-bullying component to its program to build self-esteem and eliminate isolation common for kids with Asperger’s and autism, its website says.

autism in santa monicaThe organization is run by Crys Worley, a Birmingham mother who wanted to help her own autistic child, Sasha, who suffered countless doctor’s visits, stares in public and embarrassing meltdowns. It turns out the skating is wonderful therapeutic. Crys isn’t a skater herself, but she thought skating would be good for Sasha to compliment and help some physical therapy ordered by the doctor.

“Despite all of the therapies, doctor visits, alternative diets, and treatments the one consistent thing that stuck with his progression was skateboarding,” Worley told the blog OneHundreds . I didn’t understand it completely until later on, but for some reason it worked. When he was anxious, I could sit him on his skateboard and push him back and forth down the hallway in our home. When he was bouncing off the walls and his attention span was non-existent, I could sit or stand him on his skateboard and he would focus and talk to me.”

Pat Cannon is a student at the Lighthouse Christian Academy.

my sister has autism

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