Participants with autism, at play, do very well at independent, individual, self-competition. Not team sports and defeat-others sports. During Autism Awareness Month, we must take in consideration that companionable participation includes the autistic community. And drop-in, walk-on participation at a playfield and sports facility serves to include, integrate and socialize, not competitive exclusion and marginalization characteristic of the team sports communities provide in the parks and playgrounds.
The same is true for the mobility impaired, the physically and cognitively challenged, wheelchair participants and others who are differently-able, and their families. Ball playing sports receive the most attention, budget, and space and it’s time to provide ballplaying sports that do not depend upon team play requiring similar participants without universal design or total mix or drop-in inclusion. Socialization and integration is achieved by self-competitive, alongside play, not offense and defense opponent based play.
“Play alongside others at play not against them” essentially characterizes the National Association for Recreational Equality's advocacy and mantra ever since 1981, The International Year of the Disabled. Self-improvement is the keynote improvement at the expense of others at play. Bowling, golf, and Bankshot do not require offense and defense opposition; they are ball-playing sports played alongside not against others and rival competition is not necessary. The first two are expensive but Bankshot is not and it is not space consuming.
It is the concept however not the cost that matters most. Inclusion, diversity, pluralism, compassion, decency, empathy, are at the heart of the matter concerning the imbalance sidelining and out-casting the differently-able in our parks and playing fields. There are simply too few of these self-competitive sports and an abundance of team competitive, often body banging, exclusionary and marginalizing, ballgames provided by our communities. The imbalance needs correction and human rights, social justice issues play important societal roles at play.
The Bankshot remedy NARE advocates is best reflected by the League for Participants with Autism as captured in the YouTube video below. You might wish to see how alongside play rather than opponent based play addresses the needs in recreation and sports of the differently able including, in consideration of April, an awareness of the needs of the community of participants with autism.