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On Sunday, July 8, 500 children and adults with autism, as well as their families, friends and caregivers will attend the 8th annual Autism Awareness Day at Comerica Park.
The event is organized by Jack’s Place for Autism Foundation in Southfield as a result of the generosity of the Detroit Tigers and through the Major League Baseball and Players Give Back program which donated the tickets and has been a supporter of, and committed to, improving the lives of people affected by autism.
This year support was also provided by Norup International Schools 13th Annual March Miracle Basketball Festival.
The incidence of autism has reached epidemic proportions, 1 in 88 children will be diagnosed with ASD this year, boys at 5 times the rate of girls. Autism Spectrum disorder is the fastest growing developmental disability and occurs at a greater rate than cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined. There is no cure.
“This day is monumental for many of our families, they get to enjoy a baseball game with families facing similar challenges, in a safe non- judgmental environment” said Lisa Price, president of Jack’s Place for Autism Foundation.
“Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can present many barriers that inhibit an individual’s ability to function in this type of setting, including a fear of crowds, difficulty with noise, lack of focus or the need to constantly move or rock. Some individuals who cannot speak, but who use sounds or whines or repetitive motions or hand flapping, can create situations not conducive to public gatherings.
“These behaviors make it difficult for these families to experience a typical ‘day at the ballpark,’ something that many families take as a rite of passage and mutually beneficial bonding experience. Not only will this day result in a fantastic experience for the families affected by ASD, but it will promote awareness in the community of the challenges faced by these individuals, and highlight the need for acceptance —not tolerance— of any person living with a disability,” Price added.
To date Jack’s Place and the Detroit Tigers have hosted 4,000 individuals on Autism Awareness day.
For more information on Jack’s Place for Autism or to donate or volunteer services please visit www.jacksplaceforautism.org.