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Thursday, Apr 24 2014 11:44 AM

'First Look': Bowl a strike against autism for National Autism Awareness month

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    Ramona Puget from the Autism Society and Kern Autism Network talked about Sunday's bowling event on "First Look with Scott Cox."

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person's ability to communicate and interact with others.

"We want those with autism to feel accepted and not looked at differently," Ramona Puget from the Autism Society and Kern Autism Network said Thursday on "First Look with Scott Cox."

Puget talked about events held in Bakersfield to mark April as National Autism Awareness month. A dinner raised money for school scholarships, Puget said.

One of the biggest events put together by the organization was a LEGO Theme Day at East Bakersfield High School.

Puget said volunteers played with more than 200 autistic kids individually, building towers of LEGOs. Nothing was structured and it was an exercise that wasn't labeled as "therapy," so it made kids more comfortable.

"It wasn't therapy but it kind of was, only they didn't know it," Puget said. "They worked on thier social skills, eye contact, color recognition and other important skills."

A big misconception that follows autism is that those on the spectrum look different.

But it's the total opposite, Puget said.

Her 22-year-old son is autistic and he's able to do a lot on his own, she said. His personality is very different from her 9-year-old, who is also autistic.

"He's (the 22-year-old) been given a lot of support that makes him feel as independent as possible," Puget said.

To continue to help families, the Kern Autism Network will hold one last April Autism Awareness Month event -- bowling.

"We don't receive grants, it's all about donations," Puget said. "Everyone in the Kern Autism Network is a volunteer."

To get a team together to bowl strikes against autism on Sunday, visit kernautism.org.

The price is $15 per person and includes two hours of bowling and shoe rental. Each lane can accommodate six people.

 

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