Sunday, May 13, 2007

This Time It's Bowling

You know how I keep comparing Michael to past experiences and see a big difference? Well, a couple of weeks ago I took Michael to a bowling party for his cousin. It was at the same bowling alley where Michael was in a league one summer. Probably 3 years ago when he was 5. We lasted about 4 weeks then. Michael was running ALL of the place- onto the lanes, trying to touch the pins, sliding on the oil... it was horrible.

I grew up in a bowling alley, bowled 6 days a week, competed on the high school team, when to state tournaments. I even coached bowling after I graduated college. I take bowling very seriously. I even went to "bowling camp". Yes, there IS a professional bowlers camp- lol.

I always wanted to have kids and teach them how to bowl. That's why I was so excited when Michael was 5 and he started a league with a neighbor. But, he got so overwhelmed and out of control. The situation was actually dangerous. We never tried again.

I kind of expected Michael to be better at the party, because he's been adjusting so well to everything. He was GREAT at the party. All typical (non-autistic) kids. 25 of them (yes, it was crazy). Michael waiting his turn, threw the ball himself and he was very excited.

He also did this thing where he was hanging out with some other boys by the video games- pretending to play them. It was really nice to see.

The only bad thing was all of the kids pretty much ignored him. One kid sat down next to Michael and pushed his food away and make a face (after trying to steal his seat beforehand). Michael was washing his hands in the bathroom at the time. No one really talked to him, noticed him, played with him, etc. Sometimes when Michael would say or do something "odd" the kids would rolls their eyes. I really DISLIKE (because I don't want to use the word "hate") when children act like that. I don't care that they are 8 years old. I saw the same thing with some friends from out of town.

It's like there is a this HUGE need for people, including kids, to understand what autism is. My son is TRYING so hard to fit in. He's trying so hard to talk and communicate. I guess it's just the age old problem of accepting people. Kids in wheelchairs, with no hair, who talk funny, etc..... They are all kids. What are other parents doing to teacher THEIR children how to be compassionate? I doubt very much. They are busy playing video games and soccer.

With the amount of kids with autism (around 1 in 150) you would think EVERY child in America (or at least Long Island) knows someone with autism. Seriously, I can't drive more than 10 miles without seeing an autism awareness ribbon on someone's mini-van (it's always a mini-van-lol).

I know Michael is doing his part. He goes to the park near his school and sees kids he knows. They have always been so kind and understanding. I really do credit the school for educating them. I hope this continues in the future. Next year Michael is moving into a new classroom. It will be up to 15 kids, not 6- like he has had for 5 years. So, now he's be with non-autistic kids. I really hope that the students AND the teacher will understand him and see what a different person he is. And that being different is ok. We are all different- no one is the same. NO ONE!

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