Hanging Ten with Dustin Sweeney: A Surfers Healing Autistic Surfer
Dustin Sweeney is a 16 year old Autistic boy who has surfed all over the country with Izzy Paskowitz and the Professional Surfers of Surfers Healing. This film shows a typical day of surfing from a Surfers Healing event in Montauk, Long Island from September 2013. In addition to his parents Katie Sweeney and Mike Sweeney, Dustin was supported by a team of surfers including Jersey Pete Robson who was his instructor in this film.
Surfers Healing was founded by Israel and Danielle Paskowitz. Their son Isaiah was diagnosed with autism at age three. Like many autistic children, he often suffered from sensory overload-- simple sensations could overwhelm him. The ocean was the one place where he seemed to find respite.
A former competitive surfer, Israel hit upon an idea--with Isaiah on the front of his surfboard, and Izzy steering from the back, the two spent the day surfing together. Surfing had a profound impact on Isaiah. Israel and Danielle decided they wanted to share this unique therapy with other autistic children. They began to host day camps at the beach where autistic children and their families could be exposed to a completely new experience of surfing.