Surfing and Autism: Floating on Glory

"They get tears," said Isaiah's mother, Danielle. "They never thought their kid could do something like that, and they're thanking me profusely, and I'm like, 'God, don't thank me. Thank you.'"

It was also good for these parents just to be around so many people who understood. This extreme-seeming thing they were doing, letting strangers wrestle their kids into the sea, has a logic to it -- an autism kind of logic.

And parents like Paskowitz believe this logic is not understood by everyone.

"From the outside? [People think] they're retarded, that they're weird," he said. "That they're crazy. That the parents are sh---y parents and they let their kid run around on the cliff and dart away or steal someone's soda. All these things with autism, the way they look are all normal."

'After a Couple of Waves, He Got Calm'

And so, for little Ian Rager, who resisted getting into the water, his parents, like so many others, had no problem forcing him in. Why? "They lock down and they either retreat to a safe zone or push on through."

Ian was overruled and out he went, so far out that his parents lost sight of him. But what none of us on shore could see was captured by the cameras. He was with a volunteer named Josh.

"After a couple of waves, he got calm, he got really calm and just kind of kept paddling," said Josh. "So it was really cool, it was really neat."

Not that anyone could see that from shore, because they stayed out there a long time.

And what were Ian's thoughts as the waves pushed him back to shore? "Please take me to Best Western!"

So once was enough for Ian Rager. But he did it. And for a brief time, he rode the waves and floated on glory.

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