Surf’s Up? Thinking Outside of the Box with Therapy

Schools across the country are seeing an increase of students that require different types of therapy needs. Some of these may be due to special needs, but often times it is for mental, social, and developmental reasons. Sometimes traditional therapy with a school psychologist may be beneficial. However, not all children are willing to open up. In addition to this, some many not simply need to talk things over in their life. They may actually need a form of therapy that is abstract and personalized to them to decrease their anxiety, depression, or stress levels.

To assist your ever-changing student body at schools, it is important to do frequent interest inventories and surveys with your kids. It is helpful to know what different students like and do not like. It is also crucial to see if they have thoughts on needs within the academic setting and outside of school. It is important not to be afraid to think outside of the box. At Dardanup Primary School in Western Australia, they have done just this. They are using surf therapy to work with their students.

The program in Australia worked mostly with special needs children. They eventually adapted their program to include kids who have other challenges that could benefit from this type of therapy. The initial focus with these children was to work on social and emotional challenges that they had. Through surfing, they were able to incorporate engagement with others and more. Surfing helps to unite both sides of the brain to work together. The kids who were included in this therapy in Australia saw improvements. They were able to concentrate more, wanted to be in school, and could reflect on the experience and how it helped them.

While surfing may not be an option in a lot of locations, it shows that schools need to look around your community. Do not be afraid to try something different, especially if there is student interest! Talk to farmers, veterinarians, bakeries, and other members of the community to see where an alternative form of therapy may be set up for students.  The key to success is being willing to try something to reach different student needs. Nothing will work for every child, but if it reaches a large enough population, it may be worth investing time, money, and personnel into starting a program.


Are you looking to try something new? Check out our latest school-based opportunities for special education clinicians of all disciplines right here!

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