Recently I read an article in September’s edition of Outside Magazine about surf pro Clay Marzo. Clay suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism. It’s a condition that’s often characterized by awkward social behavior and near-obsessive focus.
The article resonated with me especially since our 4 year old son, Coulter, was diagnosed with Asperger’s last year. Meadow and I knew Coulter’s personality and mental processes were unique since he was a baby, so the diagnosis didn’t come as a surprise. It was actually a relief to finally have an answer.
Coulter looks and sounds like a normal kid, but his Asperger’s becomes more apparent the older he gets. Meadow and I constantly wonder how best to manage it. Believe it or not, the hardest part is helping others understand his behavior.
There is no medical treatment for Asperger’s. Prescription medications can only mitigate some of its symptoms, and at this point we consider that route too risky. The best way to manage it, it seems, is by informing ourselves about the condition and adapting our parenting to it. We can also help Coulter train himself.
Back to Clay Marzo. The brilliantly-written and insightful piece highlights both the difficulty of living with Asperger’s syndrome and the ability to turn its proverbial lemons into lemonade.
Marzo channels his focus on surfing and has become arguably one of the world’s best at the sport. He was was featured in a short documentary surf film by Quicksilver, his sponsor, titled Clay Marzo: Just Add Water.
Check out the trailer for the film below, then head over to Outside Mag to read the article.