Water Sports

Above the Wake teaches kids with autism and other disabilities water sports in Rockford

ROCKFORD (WREX) — West Rock Wake Park at Levings Lake in Rockford transformed into a fun-filled classroom on Sunday.

Above the Wake stopped in Rockford to teach kids of all abilities all kinds of water sports on Sunday like paddleboarding and wakeboarding.

Executive director of the organization Tom Hart says the day is all about getting the kids to have fun getting out of their comfort zone.

“If we can have them put on a life jacket, it’s a win,” Hart said. “If we can have them put on a life jacket and go down to the dock, it’s a win. If we can go down and get them on a life jacket and get them on a paddle board, huge win. It’s all about effort.”

One kid Stateline kid who’s made the wake park more of a second home is Kall’El Griffith. His mother, Terry Parisot drove by the wake park and saw someone in a wheelchair getting lessons and thought her autistic son would enjoy hitting the water. Several years later, Parisot says wakeboarding still puts a big smile on Griffith’s face.

Kall’El Griffith wakeboards at West Rock Wake Park in Rockford

“A lot of autistic kids look for that deep pressure and when he holds on to that handle, it kind of holds him and he gets that deep pressure from it,” Parisot said. “It’s been awesome for him.”

Above the Wake won’t be back in Rockford this summer, but the West Rock Wake Park will be open with beginner lessons available as long as weather allows it.

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