PALMDALE, Calif. – Pacific Child & Family Associate, a provider of behavior analysis services for children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities, announced earlier this week the success of last weekend’s A.skate, an autism-friendly skateboard clinic event at Palmdale’s Marie Kerr Park. The event was sponsored by Pacific Child & Family Associates and The A.skate Foundation.
The A.skate Foundation is an organization that helps children with autism to socialize through skateboarding. They hold clinics for children with autism at no cost to the families, give grants to children with autism for skateboard gear, as well as promote awareness and educate families about the skateboard industry.
Yesterday’s A.skate event drew an impressive 60 registered attendees, ranging from ages three to 30. Each attendee came with family members, several of whom were able to participate as well. Every first-time skateboarder received a free A.skate skateboard deck. Shoe and apparel company Vans donated 30 goodie bags that were handed out at random to the attendees.
The clinic was taught by local high school students and skateboarders who volunteered their time to help the attendees learn to skate. Additionally, David McWilliams, a private skateboard instructor with On Board, donated his time on Sunday.
said Taeja Kluge, M.S., BCBA, Clinical Director at Pacific Child and Family Associates.
“Each volunteer exhausted themselves helping the participants skate and they will never forget the feeling the event provides as many of them had little if any previous contact with or knowledge of the autism community. The families beamed at seeing their loved one tackling a new skill they may not have ever thought of even trying let alone excelling at. Seeing more than one child ask to go back out or continuing to skate after their session fills all who participate with joy.”
Families traveled from Bakersfield, L.A., and San Bernardino to attend. Many asked how they can bring A.skate to their town – which only requires fundraising and finding a skate park that can be used.
“Seeing the youth volunteers is astounding. Guys who were skating in the park in the morning before the event stayed to help a child with autism skate – not realizing how much their simple kindness effected those they helped AND how this type of event teaches the community at large about the autism community. A powerful autism awareness event, to say the least,” said Kluge.
Other organizations that contributed to the event included the AV Autism Awareness Walk, the City of Palmdale, Squirty’s Collision Center, Vans and Choices in Learning. The successful day was made possible because of efforts from Jennifer Slater Sanchez, Assistant Principal at Palmdale School District and an Adjunct Professor at Brandman University and Elisa Swan, A.skate Foundation Southern California clinic coordinator.
Autism Daily Newscast reported on a similar Skate event last summer in Paris, France.