When I take a moment to pause during the event, I see people bowling side-by-side with families they've never met, but whom they may have seen. And before that day, when the typically-developing community member saw that 9-year-old boy with autism having a meltdown in a department store, she might have thought to herself how ill-behaved he was. Or perhaps she cast a glance at the bewildered mother and wondered why she wasn't managing the situation more strong-handedly.
But at the Hoa Aloha Autism Awareness Bowling Event, they might understand a little bit better that bowling with autism can be hard. There's all this noise that perturbs the auditory sensitivity, and a throng of unfamiliar people adds unpredictability. There are turns to take and minutes to wait -- such difficult, sometimes abstract concepts for concrete thinkers with autism. And that darn bake sale is ever-beckoning little ones back for more, regardless of their brain wiring.
So, sure, I can fill you with a bunch of statistics in preparation of National Autism Awareness Month (April):
- 1:110 children in the U.S. has an autism spectrum disorder. (But remember - this is a lifelong brain-based difference; not a condition of childhood.)
- Autism is at least three times as prevalent in boys than girls.
- More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes, and pediatric AIDS combined.
- Children with autism are more likely that their typically-developing peers to be bullied in school.