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Children with autism get a special surf lesson

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder got a special lesson along the coast of Santa Barbara this weekend.

The Autism Society of Santa Barbara partnered with the Santa Barbara Seals for the 9th Annual Surf and Beach Day at Campus Point at UCSB.

Professional surf instructors took each child out into the water for an individual surf lesson, guiding them every step of the way. “It’s a very therapeutic thing, the motion of the ocean, the way the energy flows through. It gets the kids excited, and gets them happy. You can tell by the expression on their faces when they catch their first wave,” said JP Garcia, founding member of the Santa Barbara Seals.

Parents couldn’t agree more. Goleta resident Don Holm says he noticed a profound change in his son the minute he got into the water. “Something just lightens up in their eyes. It’s like magic,” said Holm.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Autism Spectrum Disorder affects an estimated 1 in 88 children. The U.S. Department of Education says autism is growing at a rate of 10 percent to 17 percent per year.

For more information about the Autism Society of Santa Barbara, call 805-560-3762, or log onto

For more information about the Santa Barbara Seals, log on to

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