April 2, 2012 is World Autism Awareness Day. On this day, autism organizations around the globe work to spread information about autism spectrum disorders, and to encourage support in autism research efforts.
For the 1 in 88 American families who have an affected child, however, every day is colored by the reality of autism.
Former San Francisco Giants first baseman Will Clark is one of these families.
His experience has helped influence the Giants franchise to include an Autism Awareness Day in their regular season special events calendar.
In 1998, Mr. Clark and his wife, Lisa, were told by a neurologist that their then 2 1/2 year-old son, Trey, was autistic. The couple was warned that Trey might
never speak. He might never get married. He might not be able to hold a job.
Since that time, the Clarks have worked with a variety of doctors and therapists, as well as a number of other Major League baseball families who have autistic children, including B.J. Surhoff and former Giants pitcher Jim Gott.
In 2009, Mr. Clark told the San Francisco Chronicle's online SFGate that 13 year-old Trey was doing well, but that
It's an everyday process. It never stops, ever.
Fortunately, Mr. Clark has used his experience with autism to host Autism Awareness days at AT&T Park as a special regular season promotion.
This year, the San Francisco Giants Autism Awareness Day is on May 30th. It is sponsored in part by Autism Speaks, along with other local autism organizations. If you purchase a special event ticket for the event, you'll receive admission to the Giants game against the Arizona Diamondbacks and an exclusive Will Clark bobblehead. Part of the proceeds of each ticket purchase will go directly to Autism Speaks.
I'm not just a devout San Francisco Giants fan -- I'm the mother of four children, two of whom are autistic. I give a hearty huzzah to Mr. Clark's efforts to support awareness of autism.
Together, we're giant -- in more ways than one.