Rock pool therapy

Clammy wet sand underfoot, blustery salty air, the roar of the ocean and a warm blanket of sunlight seeping through the early morning sea mist. Hallmarks of a North Cornish beach in Spring. Comforting and invigorating, the seaside is a wonderful tonic. All senses sated, most of us come away from a day at the beach feeling calmer, happier, centred. 

For Orange, a North Cornish beach is about as close to perfect sensory therapy as it gets. Mashing a handful of wet sand granules between his little fingers, the constant roll and rumble of the waves on the shoreline ringing in his ears, the visual spectacle of marbled rock formations and steep, dark cliffs all around. He was particularly taken with this little rock pool. We splished and splashed in the warm sea water for at least half an hour. For a boy who cannot bear the feeling of anything at all on his feet, his willingness to let his little toes dangle in the water and dig into the wet sand was a sight to behold.

Calm and happy, it was wonderful to see him so at ease with himself. Orange often struggles to identify with where bits of his body are in space. This is a very hard concept to understand if you don’t suffer from it yourself, but that grounded feeling we get from gravity just isn’t the same for Orange. He feels unsteady, unsure of where his limbs are in relation to the rest of himself. But on the beach that day, toes squirming about in the salt water, bottom firmly planted on a rock, he felt steadier, with a stillness and confidence I haven’t seen anywhere else.

There isn’t much documented about the power of ‘beach therapy’ but given that it feels so darn good to be on one, I’m going to spend as much time as I can with the kids doing just what you see us doing here in this photos. Sitting, splashing, singing, squelching, sunbathing.

Generations of my family have played on this particular beach as young children. As fate would have it, it is one of the few beaches in the South West that you can actually just drive straight onto, park on the sand and walk across miles of flat, firm sand. Unlike many places, this beach will be accessible to Orange his whole life, whether he is in a buggy, walking frame or a wheelchair, I will be able to bring him here as often as we like. This is one of Orange’s therapies that we can all benefit from. It often feels like very hard work indeed, helping Orange with his daily needs, but this? I feel lucky to have an excuse to make ‘beach therapy’ a regular part of our lives. The Beep is pretty happy about it too…




  1. MamaDragon 21/06/2012 / 2:48 pm

    I have newly found you blog and wanted to say, what a lovely blog you have. Such wonderful insight and wisdom you share. Thank you. You have a lovely family and I hope you don't mind if I read more.

  2. Mavis Cruet 21/06/2012 / 6:18 pm

    Hi, thanks for your lovely comment, kind of you to say so, please feel free to read on.

  3. sleeplessinnewcastle 22/06/2012 / 5:13 am

    I really enjoyed reading this blog and it gave me some ideas to try with my own little girl with sensory needs. She absolutely loves playing with sand but enjoys water even more. She loves the feel of the different textures in her hands and through her fingers (although we have to watch for her eating sand and mud!). I had never even considered the beach as somewhere to take her for therapy so I will definitely be giving it a go if we ever get some sun!
    All the best!

  4. Mavis Cruet 24/06/2012 / 6:39 pm

    Thanks Sleepless, I'm pretty sure the beach = sensory heaven plus if you can find one with deep enough rock pools, they heat up beautifully on a sunny day and make perfect hydrotherapy.

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