It comes as no surprise that the ocean, with its rolling waves and salty breeze, serves as a source of healing for many. This was a fact that Patricia Leat knew and believed in, and what led her to turn her 50′ ketch rigged sailboat into an escape for special needs children and their families. Patricia has over 25 years of experience working with special needs families, and it’s easy to see how passionate she is about her passengers.
When Patricia started treating not just the children, but their parents too, she saw significant changes come about; sometimes these changes came from just helping the mothers alone. She was also a part of a pilot project studying Craniosacral therapy to help Special Needs children in the ocean salt water, using nearby dolphin sonar or echolocation, and was amazed at the synergy between special needs children and the ocean. She then began searching for a way to incorporate working with families as a whole, in or near the ocean. “I had never seen a program involving water that had the parents included in anything other than a watch your child role,” said Patricia. She was determined to change that. She did this by making it her mission to focus not only on the child’s needs, but the parent’s needs as well.Patricia believes that by focusing on the entire family, this unique form of therapy will ultimately help their dynamic as a whole.
They asked Patricia what needs Infinity flooring had met for her boat, and her business, that hadn’t been met before. She said the main benefit Infinity brought to the table for her boat was an added sense of safety. Before when people would come down the entryway, which is a cross between a ladder and stairs, they felt slightly insecure when they stood on the varnished, teak floor. Now, Infinity has provided them with an added sense of stability and convenience. “For us, it is an added level of comfort for our feet while standing, and a much better level of comfort when kneeling to service something in a bilge. This flooring looks like teak and it hides keyholes in the floor, so there’s less chance of exploring little hands opening a bilge,” Patricia noted. She was also thrilled with the fact that Infinity provided not only a non skid layer of protection, but also added a bit of softness and a lighter, brighter feel to the boat overall.
Patricia has even more upgrades in mind for the future for her boat. Her current battery banks are not sufficient enough to last the duration of a sailing trip without the assistance from a generator, so they are planning on installing a bigger, more robust bank. Special needs children are sensitive to noises and smells, so by not using a generator they are avoiding unnecessary nuisances, making their sailing experience as successful as possible. The Voyage Into Healing crew is also putting fabric shade, strataglass, and screen up around their hard dodger, providing a lovely shaded area that is protected from the elements, yet is still outside.
Everything that Patricia does, she does for the benefit of her passengers. She has truly designed the Voyage Into Healing experience with the families’ needs at the heart of the entire operation. When asked what she hopes that special needs children and their families gain from their Voyage Into Healing experience, she said,”Raising a special needs child can be very challenging for parents. The emotional roller coaster that they are constantly on can wear them out, tear their hopes and dreams away, and lead to some very bad habits and beliefs. I hope to help all of this, by lifting spirits and bringing hope.”