Ryan’s out to show the nation how it’s done

Ryan’s out to show the nation how it’s done

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Ryan Grant is off to Queensland to compete in the Australian Surf Life Saving Adaptive National Championships.

Ryan Grant is living proof that trying something new can have incredible results.

The 16-year-old Canning Vale resident has made his mum and the Coogee Surf Life Saving Club proud by being selected for the Australian Surf Life Saving Adaptive National Championships in Queensland next week.

Ryan is also the first person with a disability in the Coogee club to take part in the nationals, something that has Ryan’s mum beaming with pride.

“As a mum I am so proud of Ryan,” Carla Grant said.

“He is so calm and patient about his achievements.  For a little boy who didn’t talk until he was five and hated the ocean and the beach until he was six years old, it’s an amazing achievement.

“Now he loves the beach and the ocean and swims like a fish.”

Ryan and his younger brother Austin first joined the Coogee Starfish Nippers two years ago, a program designed especially for kids with disabilities to learn beach safety and run by Simone Blom.

“We heard about Starfish Nippers Surf Life Saving program through a friend,” Ryan’s mum Carla Grant said.

“We joined two years ago.  My boys absolutely love it.  There are kids in our group with autism, Down’s syndrome, and Cerebral Palsy.

“Ryan has always been a natural with sport, in particular athletics (running and sprints), rugby and basketball.

“It’s been so nice to see him confident with other like-minded people his age and interacting/laughing and talking like a typical teenager.  These things do not come naturally for most people with autism,” she said.

Ryan’s mum said playing a team sport has significantly improved Ryan’s social skills and emotional regulation, things he struggled with when he was younger.

“Socially sport has been amazing for him and really brought him out of his shell.  It’s also been nice for me to meet other mums who are experiencing the autism journey also,” Carla Grant said.

“When Ryan was first diagnosed at two-years-old there were no sporting options for kids with autism.

“As the years have passed, I have been thrilled to see various sporting codes include kids with disabilities,” she said.

Ryan has been helped with a generous sporting grant of $400 from the City of Gosnells and he is also being cheered on by his classmates and teachers at Sevenoaks School in Cannington.

Ryan and his mum will head to Queensland ahead of the Australian Surf Life Saving Adaptive National Championships this week.