Bowling with Autism

February 6, 2012
Chelsea Budde

There are so many things I love about Good Friend, Inc., but our annual Hawaiian-themed bowling event is my favorite. It's so much more than a fundraiser: It's a time for families and friends to enjoy one another while supporting a good cause. A time for colleagues to see each others' silly sides. An opportunity to perhaps win a prize for your creativity with a coconut (for real - that's a prize category this year!). And that's just on event day.

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):

But I don't know that offering head knowledge is the best way for you to understand how important it is for our organization to provide social support to communities including people with autism.  I hope you'll join us at New Berlin Bowl on April 22.  We've increased our goal for this year's event by 25%, so we need more teams, more companies, more donors than ever before to extend themselves in the pursuit of autism awareness, acceptance, and empathy.  For more information or to register your team, click here.

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