Sheckler Foundation hosts event for autism

A volunteer helps a child have one of their first positive skateboarding experiences. Courtesy of A.skate Foundation

With the help of The Sheckler Foundation, A.skate, a non-profit organization that introduces children with autism to the therapeutic effects of skateboarding, hosted their first event in California on Nov. 13.

Held at pro skateboarder Ryan Sheckler's private skatepark in San Clemente, the Sheckler Foundation coordinated with Sheckler's shoe sponsor, Etnies to provide gift bags for all the participants at the event, while Upper Class Label organized volunteers, raised funds for the event and held a silent auction benefitting A.skate.

Throughout the day, volunteers, including pro skateboarders Fabrizio Santos and Chad Bartie, spent one-on-one time with nearly 50 autistic children, teaching them skateboarding basics and guiding them through the movements of riding ramps and rolling around.

Skateboarder magazine's Editor, Jaime Owens was moved by the experience of working with the children. "Being able to help out Chrys Worley and her A.skate Foundation felt really amazing," Owens said. "It's such a great cause and you can see the impact you're having on those kids right then and there. I can't wait to do it again, so I'm working with her to get a benefit going in the near future so that they can do more clinics and keep the good fight up."

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, autism affects one in 110 children born in the United States today. It is a developmental disorder with little known cause or cure and it is four times more likely to affect boys than girls. Children with autism struggle with the ability to follow directions and play on teams due to a lack in social skills that the condition often presents. As such, skateboarding, being a solo activity and something with repetition of movement, can be a great fit for children with autism.

A.skate founder Chrys Worley viewed the group's first event in California as a fantastic success. "Everyone was on board 100 percent and worked so well and hard together to make this a very special day for the kids," Worley said. "On Saturday, every child that attended was a super star!"

A.skate will resume their skate clinic tours in the spring of 2011. For more information, and for families interested in attending an A.skate event go to A.skate.org.