Danny Cavaliere III of Toms River held on as a group of Asbury Park Skateboarding Foundation [APSF] volunteers led him across Asbury Park Carousel building parking lot Sunday.
At times his face showed trepidation but then there were the fleeing smiles as his confidence grew. Cavaliere [shown below] is a 2 ½ year old Toms River resident recently diagnosed with autism.
And while control and structure are important in the lives of all children, they take on particular importance for those diagnosed with a special needs disorder.
Cavaliere’s father Danny brought his son to the city’s first skate clinic for children with autism, made possible through a partnership with A.Skate Foundation, in order to foster socialization, he said.
“He’s okay around adults but its being around kids that can be challenging,” the elder Cavaliere said.
The partnership with Birmingham based A.skate will mean the local nonprofit will take over coordinating similar events throughout the state. The clinics give children one on one skate lessons, paying close attention to provide an environment that is appropriate to their sensory needs.
Jean Farkas of Marlboro has been attending A.Skate clinics with her son Chris Farkas, 14, since they first began administering the occupational-style therapy clinics in the state.
On Sunday, Chris [shown above] pushed, or rather skated past the limitations of his disorders with small but significant victories as he tried carves and ollies.
“In a setting like this our kids don’t always fit in with typical skateboard people,” Farkas said. “This gives them the opportunity to do something they probably wouldn’t be able to do. Once they get on a skateboard and the volunteers help them move around and adjust and balance, they feel pretty confident and comfortable; and if they can’t let go, then they hold on. I see smiles on their faces and then they let go and don’t need someone to help them.”
For 18-year-old Kyle Scott’s mom the decision to travel 1 ½ hour from New City, New York, was the least she could do foster his athletic spirit. With a solitary focus and blind determination, Scott [shown below] reached for a hand, shoulder, and at times even a grab to his tutor’s chest as he glided across the parking lot. As the afternoon waned, his courage seemed to increased.
“ He’s pretty athletic, he loves swimming, hiking and running,” mom Theresa Scott said. “He pretty much taught himself how to swim because verbal instruction is hard for him but he’s got good balance and is naturally athletic. His first time on a skateboard was last year at and A.skate event at House of Vans in Brooklyn and he really loved it. It’s just great for him to be able to work with other people and learn new skills. Any opportunities we can give him to do more things that typical kids get to do, I like to take advantage of that opportunity for him.”
The Asbury Park Sun is affiliated with the triCityNews newspaper.