So the group went bowling. We had five families show up for bowling and pizza. A couple of the lanes employed the bumpers. That is one advantage of bowling with young children. Our bumpers got a pretty good workout. I think the kids even bounced a ball or two off of them.
Both kids love to go bowling. Number One Son was a little frustrated with his second game, but he still had fun visiting with a few of his friends.
Sweet Pea had fun every time she threw the ball down the lane. When she didn't knock down very many pins, she would put on a dramatic face and slouch back to her seat before laughing. When she got a spare or strike, her two fists would rocket into the air with a "WoooWhooo!" as she skipped or danced back to her seat. She also invented a different to way to high five after a good frame. She would put her palms together and we would slap the backs of our hands back and forth three times.After the first game, I let the kids bowl a few of my frames while I hung out at the pizza and root beer table.
I could tell that the kids had fun, because it was hard to get them to leave when we were done. It was nice to get together with families that face some of the same challenges that we do in day to day life. For some with autism or asperger's, the noise or the smells of a bowling alley would be too much of a sensory overload. Our group, however, had no problems and since Minnesota is smoke free in public areas, bowling alleys are now much better for people with sensory issues.
An added benefit to the outing was showing the public that having autism or asperger's doesn't mean being unable to enjoy normal activities as a family. Many times families struggle with prejudice and embarrassment when kids act up in public. But autistic kids are no different than other kids in that respect. You, as a parent, learn what situations to avoid, and our children learn how to cope with sensory and social challenges. How else will they learn how to behave if they never get the chance to be in a social situation?
So, next time you are at a restaurant, or grocery store or bowling alley, and some one's kid is having a meltdown, autism or not, don't think of it as your evening being ruined. Think of it as a child who had too much to handle this time, but will probably do better next time.