Nobody knows what causes autism. But the numbers are skyrocketing. Now, one in 46 boys is diagnosed on the Autism spectrum. While every child is as unique as a snowflake, it is becoming clear that golf is helping many children and their families.
Children who have been socially isolated, are learning how to participate in this complex game with their families and new friends. There are dozens of stories about how golf has given meaning and focus to individuals with the diagnosis. Sports Broadcaster Jimmy Roberts documents the stories of golf boosting the quality of life for children and adults who once felt lost.
In Arizona, there is an association dedicated to supporting families. The website for Golf for Autistic Children in America is http://www.gfaca.org/.
No one seems to be able to explain why a game that is so frustrating and difficult can soothe and elevate the lives of young people with great difficulties. Perhaps there are a few clues in how golf is being used to help senior citizens with Alzheimers. In Belmont California, Alzheimers paitents who are non-verbal, immobile and belligerent , start swinging like teenagers, adding up their scores and making coherent conversation.
There is something about the golf swing that sticks within the inner workings of the brain.
“Golf is all about memory, and not just the motion of the swing, but your score and the club you hit and from how many yards you were from the hole,” said Bert Hayslip Jr., a psychology professor at the University of North Texas who has studied Alzheimer’s sufferers. “There is something about that game that imprints itself on people’s minds.”