Bowlers can help strike out autism June 16

4th annual event could attract up to 200 bowlers 

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

As many as 200 seasoned and inexperienced bowlers alike are expected to descend on Striker’s Bowling Alley on Monday, June 16 in Rockingham to help raise funds for the Richmond County chapter of the Autism Society of North Carolina.

The fun is scheduled to go from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The cost is $10 per person or $50 per five-person team. Checks should be made payable to ASNC-Richmond County Chapter, 109 Hill St., Hamlet, NC 28345. Bowlers can register in advance by calling 910-334-1363 or at the door the night of the event.

Submitted photo Members of the Richmond Service League help coordinate the Strike Out Autism bowling event each year in Rockingham.

Submitted photo
Members of the Richmond Service League help coordinate the Strike Out Autism bowling event each year in Rockingham.

Funds raised will help autistic children in Richmond County attend Camp Royall next month near Pittsboro. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website defines autism as “a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior.”

Emily Tucker, president of the local Autism Society chapter, said each child with autism is different.

“If you’ve seen one autistic child, you’ve seen one autistic child,” said Tucker, who has a 13-year-old son with autism. “Some kids may need speak, some are severely handicapped. I’m fortunate that my child … he started talking at the age of 4. It might not have been complete sentences …”

In the past nine years, Tucker said, her son has “come a long way.”

That is thanks to, in part, the opportunity to attend places like Camp Royall. While giving parents respite, the camp provides autistic children one-on-one instruction and guidance in a wide variety of activities considered to be normal — but in an environment designed especially for them.

“These kids ride horses, zip line, water slides … they get to experience camp just like a normal child,” Tucker said.

While being the parent of a special needs child is taxing, Tucker said a camper’s parent experiences all the emotional turbulence of letting go as any other mom or dad sending their child off to camp for up to a week.

“You’re protective of your child anyway, as a parent, but when you have a special needs child … to walk away and leave my child with strangers all week, I cried all the way home,” Tucker said when her son first attended camp two years ago.

But her son had a different reaction.

“He was fine,” she said.

It was, Tucker said, “an experience of a lifetime.”

Tucker said there’s something to be said for child with autism to be around other kids with the same condition.

“I think they know when they’re around other kids that they can associate with,” Tucker said. “I think when (kids) get aroun doter kids that are autistic, it’s like they have their own little language.”

The Richmond County chapter of the Autism Society of North Carolina meets almost every third Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. in the auditorium at FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital on Long Drive. The next meeting is slated for Aug. 16.

Tucker estimates between 50 and 100 Richmond County children have some form of autism.

 

 

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