Surfer Clay Marzo Challenges Asperger Syndrome

Jenny Decker RN's picture

So who is Clay Marzo and what is so important about Asperger’s syndrome? Clay Marzo was diagnosed with Asperger’s in 2007. But that did not stop him! He loves surfing and the water. In fact, he is one of the world’s top professional surfers, if not the top. This past January, the Quiksilver film “Clay Marzo: Just Add Water” took home the award for Best Biography at the X-Dance Action Sports Film Festival in Salt Lake City. The film tell of Marzo’ struggles, challenges and triumphs of living with Asperger’s syndrome.

Asperger syndrome is a type of autism. It is considered a very high form of autism. Unfortunately, the diagnosis is missed in many children. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is one of several conditions diagnosed when the child really suffers from Asperger’s.


Symptoms of Asperger syndrome are social awkwardness, misunderstanding conventional social rules, and a lack of empathy for others. It isn’t that that child does not want to fit in, it is just that the child has no idea how to do it. It is interesting to note that about the only difference between autism and Asperger’s is that the child with Asperger’s generally has good language and cognitive skills. Autism is marked by severe language delays.

However, those with Asperger’s syndrome tend to process one thing in their life so deeply that they become an expert at that one thing. A child may become interested in zip codes and be able to cite any zip code in the United States when asked. Another child may be fascinated with vacuums and be able to intricately describe the workings of each brand of vacuum. For Clay Marzo, surfing is his deep fascination.

Surfer’s Healing, a foundation for autism was founded by Isreal and Danielle Paskowitz who have a child who was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. DVD’s (Clay Marzo: Just Add Water) are sending part of the proceeds of this sale to the foundation.


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