Surfing with complex needs 180A young man from South Wales with complex needs who can only communicate through eye contact, movement and the occasional vocalisation has fulfilled a lifelong goal of going surfing.

Staff from Walsingham Support worked with Dan Vaughan’s parents to develop a person-centred plan that would challenge him, push his boundaries and satisfy his sensory needs by brushing his teeth with support, going on holiday without his parents and ultimately going surfing.

Nicola Jones, locality manager for Walsingham Support, said: “Walsingham Support works to increase the quality of life and happiness of every person it supports. The smile on Dan’s face [when he was surfing] spoke a thousand words – it was a massive achievement for him. This was truly an unforgettable moment for Dan and all involved.”

To get into the surf, Walsingham Support worked with SurfabilityUK, a Swansea-based organisation that provides surfing experiences for people with disabilities.

All foreseeable challenges including what equipment was required and how Dan would be supported were considered while SurfabilityUK was able to provide a unique surf board that accommodated Dan’s disabilities.

Ben Clifford, director at SurfabilityUK CIC, added: “Dan has very complex needs, but our training and adapted equipment allowed us to feel confident in getting him in the water. Dan clearly had a great time and we were stoked to have helped him experience surfing.”

Staff who support Dan said he thoroughly enjoyed being in the water. He has since bought some surf mitts and wants to get his own wetsuit.

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