Hoist the sails as Li teaches kids about yaughting
A group of autistic children learnt to cooperate and communicate with others through yachting in Zhangzhou, Fujian province. [Photo by Tang Zhichao/ for chinadaily.com.cn]
In May 2013 the first group consisting of 20 children and their parents began their voyage. "Many children refused to board the yacht, or were very afraid," Li said, adding that he was even bit by some of the more nervous ones.
However, when sailing on the ocean, they gradually calmed down, and when they sat and tried to put their feet into the water, they smiled. Li knew it had worked.
A child Xiaoyu was one of the first to take a part. His mother said he became more confident, and began to hug or shake hands with other children. He also shared his happiness with his family.
The mother of another child, Xiaoxin, said he looked very joyful on the sea. "His emotion kept stable, and he would answer my questions, which he wouldn't do at home," she said.
For Li, the most obvious change for these children was that they had learnt to cooperate and communicate with others. "These children have pure eyes and minds. Some have multiple talents like music and math," Li said, adding that more people can know, understand, respect and accept autistic children, and learn to treat them like everyone else, helping them to join society.
Over the last decade, Li has organized over 10,000 yachting activities.