Wave Project director to explain benefits of surfing therapy at Biarritz conference
Wave Project director Dr Wendy Thomas is set to outline how surfing can benefit children with special needs at an international medical conference in France this weekend.
Dr Thomas, an educational psychologist, has been invited to speak about The Wave Project’s work with disadvantaged children at Le Conférence Mer et Santé (Sea and Health Conference) in Biarritz on Saturday October 5.
The conference is an academic forum to discuss different ideas about how the sea can be used as a positive resource for therapeutic activities.
Dr Thomas will use her presentation to explain to delegates how The Wave Project has used surfing to improve confidence and self-esteem in children in Cornwall and Devon, and how these outcomes have led to improvements in other areas of their lives, such as health and education.
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She will tell delegates how The Wave Project has helped over 200 children with additional needs in the UK to improve their confidence and self-esteem through surfing.
Her talk will show statistics of how children rated improvements to their confidence over the term of a surfing course, and offer a case study of one primary school pupil whose work went from ‘ungradeable’ to average across all subjects after going surfing for six weeks.
Dr Thomas said: “The authorities in France are very keen on the idea of using the sea as a therapeutic resources for people with disabilities and mental health difficulties.
“This conference is all about exploring the opportunities for that, and so they are interested to hear more about a UK project that uses the sea to develop positive outcomes for children in both health and education.”
Wave Project chief executive Joe Taylor added: “It’s great that the authorities in France are so positive and forward-thinking about using the sea as a health resource. We are delighted to be able to showcase our work at the conference, and look forward to hearing about the work of other organisations across Europe.”