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Gladden is a 16 years old non verbal kid with autism. His first water encounter is when he was a year old in Kampung Ujung, Labuan Bajo – Flores, Indonesia. He is a special need teenager with enthusiasm when he find pool or beach. The little Gladden lived and growth in Labuan Bajo, West Manggarai – Flores for 1 year and four months. One day his parent was walking in the beach in Kampung Ujung and stop, suddenly Gladden asked to stay and sit at the sandy beach and enjoy his time by playing the sand.
He has enthusiasm also on his father’s snorkeling gear. One day he was caught by camera playing the mask and snorkel during his father trip to Loh Mbongi, Labuan Bajo.
When he was 8 years old Gladden already familiar and enjoy his time in the pool of Batu Hijau in Sumbawa. Every week he and his brother Gilang went to the pool and swim together, then they moved to Jakarta in 2010.
In Jakarta Gladden got less playing in the water. Gladden’s father is an experience scientific diver and also a dive instructor. As an expert trainer his father start to apply his experience to introduce Gladden on using snorkeling gears.
However after many times try to introduce using the snorkel gear, its not working to Gladden. He did refuse when his father gave him the example to use mask and snorkel and asked Gladden to simulate or practice again. Gladden prefer to use nothing when he swim, neither in swimming pool nor at the sea.
March 17, 2018 Gladden and his father come to swimming pool after a while and as usual his father introduce him to use the mask and snorkel. He start interested and when his father put the mask into Gladden’s face, he just obey and hold the father’s hand. Wow.. Surprised! Then his father guide Gladden to put the snorkel mouthpiece into his mouth and Gladden just followed the instruction. Yes, it was the first time Gladden wear and try to enjoy using mask and snorkel. The next step is how can Gladden breath using the snorkel to breath. As usual when Gladden excited he just jumped in and out his face in the surface. In this stage Gladden got the feeling and he like and excited. Gladden and his father and brother was going home with hope that the next session Gladden would get better.
When the experience still fresh and Gladden was excited, they come back to the pool and Gladden’s father ask Gladden’s brother involve to encourage Gladden how to breath using the snorkel and get familiar on those gears. Gladden was still excited and tend to over excited along the session. Then Gladden’s father keep give Gladden example how use the mask and how breath with snorkel properly. Gladden watch the example given his father very good but when he practiced he lose his control especially how to close his mouth properly.
Teaching Gladden as a non-verbal teenager with autism need amount of patient and thousand of thought to get the result we want achieved. So his father identified that the one obstacle of this Gladden snorkeling exercise is over excited. When it happen Gladden was not able to focus to the proper procedure especially on breathing using the snorkel. At this stage his father try to make Gladden focus and ask Gladden to watch his father mouth directly and it was working, when Gladden was watching the bubble come out from the snorkel’s valve and keep to pay attention, automatically he was breathing using his snorkel properly. For a minute long Gladden can breathe normally using snorkel without any water comes into the snorkel. Well done Gladden, there is a hope you can explore the underwater world and enjoy it.
The founder is a marine biologist and a dive instructor. He experiences in marine conservation especially on bio-physic data collection such as reef health monitoring, fish spawning aggregation site survey, marine large fauna survey, occasional observation and marine resource utilization assessment. Also experience on training related scientific diving, bio-physic monitoring, geographic information system, data analyzing and reporting, marker buoys installation, underwater photography and coral rehabilitation, such in Weh island- Aceh, Mandeh waters - Padang, Riau islands and Belitung waters, in Sumatera region, Krakatoa Marine Sanctuary, Seribu islands National Park and Karimunjawa National Park in Jawa region, Derawan, Sangalaki and Kakaban islands, and Tanah Bumbu Regency in Kalimantan region, Wakatobi National Park, Gorontalo waters, Bunaken National Park and Lembeh strait in Sulawesi region, Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Komodo waters, Flores, Adonara, Lembata, Pantar, and Sawu Sea National Park in Lesser Sunda Region, Halmahera and Morotai waters in North Maluku region, Ambon waters, Lease islands and Banda islands in Maluku region, Kaimana, Raja Ampat waters and Teluk Cenderawasih National Park in West Papua region, Tioman Marine Park and Tun Sakaran Marine Park in Malaysia, Atauro island and Liquiça in Timor Leste, Phuket in Thailand, Kehpara Marine Sanctuary in Pohnpei, Micronesia, Gladden Spit Marine Sanctuary and Half Moon Cay Marine Park in Belize. Experience as a scuba diver instructor with more than 5000 dives and trained more than 200 advance and open water divers.