The Gift of Moving Freely: Underwater Excursion Removes LimitationsThe Autism Site
Although people in wheelchairs have limited mobility on land, they can enjoy freedom of movement underwater. That's the rationale behind Marine Discovery Dive, a program organized by a Malaysian nonprofit organization called People Support People. Participants who are normally confined to wheelchairs have the opportunity to experience the thrill of undersea exploration during an open water scuba dive.
The People Support People society's chairman, E.K. Lim, first organized the dive out of a desire to help people with different abilities overcome their limitations. As of 2016, the society has held the annual event for five years. The 2016 dive took place in the waters off Tioman Island in Pahang. Its 29 participants earned it an entry in the Malaysian Book of Records as the largest scuba diving event for people with different abilities ever held in the country. Participants descended to a depth of up to 6 meters during their 30 minute dive.
Many participants express misgivings and outright fear before they begin, but they all show great courage and perseverance once they get into it. After the dive, many of the participants testify of new-found confidence, satisfaction and fulfillment. They realize that the sea is a great equalizer when it comes to mobility.