Diving into therapy – Rochelle News Leader
Talk to any scuba diver and they can list a myriad of reasons why they do it; peace, tranquility and exploring underwater wrecks and reefs, just to name a few. One Rochelle family has discovered there is a therapeutic benefit to scuba diving as well.During a conversation with a friend, Sheryl and Dave Casey learned
Talk to any scuba diver and they can list a myriad of reasons why they do it; peace, tranquility and exploring underwater wrecks and reefs, just to name a few.
One Rochelle family has discovered there is a therapeutic benefit to scuba diving as well.
During a conversation with a friend, Sheryl and Dave Casey learned about the connection between scuba diving while receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy and its benefits to those who have autism.
The Caseys’ son, Braden, is autistic.
“Our friend is a master diver and was familiar with the autism diving program at Loves Park Scuba,” Sheryl said. “We went to observe others diving and learned about other autistics having benefited from the therapy.”
Armed with a plan, in early December Braden started scuba diving training three times a week at Loves Park Scuba, incorporating the hyperbaric oxygen therapy to help treat his autism.
The scuba training facility has an 11-foot deep pool with certified divers to help in the training process.
“We didn’t know about hyperbaric oxygen therapy through scuba diving until we visited Loves Park Scuba. Then we started researching the benefits of it and saw firsthand the improvements and healing for Braden,” Dave said. “He not only learned how to scuba dive, but the combination of the 80 percent oxygen and 20 percent nitrogen has increased the arterial blood flow to his brain and is improving his health at the cellular level (thus removing toxins from his body). By scuba diving at 11 feet, the atmospheric pressure is increased which is also a benefit to him. This has been a very beneficial treatment for many children with autism.”
Open water certification
Typically, clients of the scuba diving facility are brought to a local lake to obtain their certification; the owners already had a trip to Cozumel planned in February and invited Braden, which opened a much larger world of scuba diving.
Dave also went to Cozumel to become certified with Braden.
Dave explained although the airport was “overwhelming and very overstimulating” to Braden, the trip was enjoyable once a routine was established. Braden completed 12 dives at a depth of 60 feet. Dave completed 16 dives, also at the same depth. Each dive took between 45 and 60 minutes.
“Braden was super excited about seeing the sharks,” Sheryl said. “They also saw a seahorse, lobsters, tons of barracuda, puffer fish, stingray and eels. One of the most memorable dives for Braden was getting to go 60 feet down under to see a shipwreck and actually sitting on the edge of the ship for a picture.”
Sheryl said an additional benefit for Braden is the absence of sensory stimulation and distractions while underwater.
“In fact, he is able to sleep underwater, that’s how relaxed he gets. The deep pressure and compression that he feels from his wetsuit and equipment help organize thoughts and gives him security, like a big hug,” she added. “And an additional plus is the amount of confidence that he has gained … Braden knows he feels better after a dive and is able to process information better before his fight or flight reactions kick in.”
Braden was asked how the therapy makes him feel.
“Very relaxed and calm,” he replied.
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