One of the things special needs parents fear most is that others will underestimate our child’s capacity to learn and grow. Individuals who learn and communicate differently are easily left by the wayside. Being stuck in neutral isn’t the worst of it. If there is a lack of opportunity and support for moving forward, special needs individuals slip backwards.
For us, having a son who was scared to leave the house, scared to go in the car, and scared to set foot in a new place made every step forward seem impossible.
Workers in the special needs field sometimes spot an opening that a parent can’t see, or is afraid to try. An outdoor activity helper decided that it was time for our son to try kayaking. Despite being afraid of so many things. Despite not knowing how to swim.
With the logistical help of our helper, my son and I found ourselves floating in kayaks on the shimmering waters of Richardson Bay. Not only did my son not panic and flip the kayak over, but we were able to paddle near sunbathing harbor seals and artfully posed sea birds near the Sausalito shore. We’ve gone several times.
The cumulative knowledge of specialists who work wonders with special needs kids occasionally surpasses what we parents see as possible. Turns out that there are numerous support organizations that offer water activities like kayaking, canoeing, and even whitewater rafting for special needs individuals.
Seeing my son bravely try new things inspires me. Strong and adventurous though I think I am, I’ve had to learn how to push past boundaries to try new things, too.
We all have more capacity to learn and grow—at whatever age—than we consciously recognize.
Do not underestimate loved ones. Do not underestimate yourself.
This week’s Hike Notes, Richardson Bay Kayaking, introduce a popular spot in Sausalito for kayaking and paddle boarding.
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Hike Notes 84: Richardson Bay Kayaking
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes, Hike Search by Area) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.