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No one knew what the day had in store for them as they rushed to the studio at 8:00 in the morning. The day started off slow, as people took their time coming to the studio. However, once as everyone reached the Roaring Train Railroad, the excitement began to build and the occasion took a fortunate twist for the better.

The train left the platform, and the trip officially began. Right off the bat, everyone’s spirits were heightened by the beauty of the redwood forests. Allies, parents, and kids all embraced the sunny weather and cool air, relaxing during the journey. The positive energy in the atmosphere was apparent on the children’s faces as the train made its way towards the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

When we arrived, everyone was eager to feel the deep blue waters and play in the crashing waves. The kids’ faces lit up as we walked on the warm sand towards the endless ocean. The beach was a perfect location for the excursion because despite age and ability, it was a place that everyone could enjoy. Many members of the Pragnya family were able to play around in the ocean and nearby lagoon. The kids got to hang out with their allies and take advantage of the beautiful summer day.

The water festivities were cut short, not unfortunately, by lunch. The entire team was able to enjoy warm pizza and tacos from the boardwalk and relax under the colorful beach umbrella. This was a time for everyone to take a little break and more importantly, for the kids to spend some quality time with their parents.

The most exciting part of the day was definitely enjoying all the boardwalk activities. The upbeat music lightened everyone’s mood, and the kids were overall enthused. Despite the crowded deck, everyone enjoyed themselves as we walked around and took in the sight of all the vibrant games and rides. This experience was not only fun, but also unique, because it was one that children on the spectrum do not get to experience very often. They were able to enjoy the thrill and scare of a rollercoaster ride with their neurotypical friends. It was a learning experience for both the kids and allies, as everyone was able to do something new.

The highlight of the Boardwalk was the Down Under ride. One of the kids did something he has never done before. He went on a rollercoaster for the very first time. Even though he was scared, with the help of all the allies who were encouraging him, and of course, his supporting mother, the kid was able to overcome his fear and enjoy the ride. The boardwalk fun allowed the Pragnya kids to make unforgettable memories with their family and friends.

As the day winded down, everyone was prepared to get on the train and wrap up this perfect day. Little did we know, that there was more excitement to come. The entire way back, we got to enjoy the adults and kids singing, dancing, and running around, somehow still filled with energy. As a result, the day ended on a positive, happy note, allowing us to mark this day as picture perfect.

The excursion to the beach was a great way to immerse children diagnosed with ASD into society and allow them to bond with neurotypical individuals. Being allies, we too take some lessons back from this experience that will help us become better allies and people as a whole.

On this note, we look forward to the future excursions and many memories we will make as part of the Pragnya team.

Blog By:

Preethi Edara

Megana Arunarthi

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