Children with special needs water ski for the first time -, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Children with special needs water ski for the first time

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Dozens of East Texans with physical and/or mental disabilities had the opportunity to experience the thrill of water skiing on Saturday.

Texas Adaptive Aquatics is a non-profit based out of Houston that travels the country, giving people ages seven and up an opportunity to get out on the water.

This was eight-year-old Christina Mata's first time water skiing.

"She loves water, she loves speed, so this is combining two of her favorite things," her mother Laura Matas said.

She was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of two, and although mom and dad were a little nervous to let her go, their fear quickly disappeared when they saw an unforgettable smile light up Christina's face.

"It was amazing, it was a good feeling to see her experience something that she's never experienced before and to give her the independence that she doesn't normally have in her everyday life. And then I saw the skier who was next to her let go. We were pretty nervous, but as he came back he said, 'I wouldn't have let go if I didn't think she could handle it.' And sure enough, she did a great job," Matas said.

Roger Randall is the president of Texas Adaptive Aquatics. He said he is rewarded for his hard work every time he looks in the review mirror of his boat and sees those smiling faces.

"It hooks you, you get hooked. Once you see that, you're hooked. I get chills today and I've been doing it for thirty years," he said.

Equally as touched by the job they do is Kevin Morgan with TAA.

"I get the best seat in the house. I get to watch them all day, everyday. The smiles, it's rewarding," Morgan said.

Aleksander Shields' smile was contagious when he got out on the water.

"We went all the way around," he explained.

Aleksander,9, and his older brother were diagnosed with autism and ADHD. Seeing both of her boys on the water is something this Jacksonville mom will not forget.

"It shows me that they are able to do more things that every other child can do on a regular basis, they just had to have a little extra modification, but yeah, pure joy," the boys' mother, Christina Shields, explained.

When these employees and volunteers see the expression on both the children and their parents' faces, they know every minute is worth it.

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