SPARTANBURG — An upcoming golf tournament will raise money to fight autism on both local and worldwide levels.
As a benefit for both Autism Speaks and the South Carolina Autism Society, a charity golf tournament will be held at 9 a.m. this Saturday, April 5, at Heddles Hideaway Golf Course, located at 5451 South Pine St., Spartanburg.
Proceeds from Saturday’s event will be split with half going to the South Carolina Autism Society and the other half going to Autism Speaks.
The cost is $45 per person to include a round of golf, lunch, and numerous giveaways and auction items. The tournament will be four-man captain’s choice golf. Spots are still available, and golfers do not have to enter as a team. Single registrants will be placed into teams.
Auction items include items such as a Boone and Crockett Buck Hunt, a fishing trip, and several autographed footballs — including signatures from Nick Sabin, Bobby Bowden and Ray Guy.
Two of the organizers of the tournament are Union residents Gator and Betsy Hudson. The Hudsons’ 11-year-old son Kyle was diagnosed with autism at age three and Fragile X syndrome — the leading genetic cause of autism — at age four.
The Hudsons said that while their goal is to raise money, the main purpose is to create awareness, and worldwide organizations like Autism Speaks and regional organizations such as the South Carolina Autism Society help point people with questions or concerns in the right direction. The Hudsons know firsthand what it is like to need that sort of guidance, and they are eager to help others receive the same support.
“Everybody we can help will have one less problem than we have had to deal with,” Gator said.
The Autism Speaks website creates awareness and helps parents know the signs of autism through videos which point out specific developmental delays.
Growth of Autism prevalence
Last Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta released the latest autism prevalence rates. These statistics are based on 2010 data. Researchers reviewed both health and educational data for 8-year-olds from 11 states across the country.
Based on their research, the CDC announced the autism prevalence rate at 1 in 68. This is nearly a 30 percent increase over the previous rate of 1 in 88 that was based on 2008 data.
Boys continue to be affected by autism at much greater rates than girls. For boys, an estimated 1 in 42 has an autism spectrum disorder, while for girls the rate is 1 in 189.
The research also showed that almost 50 percent of those with autism have average or above-average intelligence.
The South Carolina Autism Society sees this continued increase as further evidence of the need for services across the lifespan for those affected by autism. Services are vital starting with early-intervention, and continuing through school age and adulthood. Individuals affected by autism may need medical care, therapies, educational services and accommodations, employment and opportunities for independent living. Further, they need to be understood and accepted as contributing members of society.
What is Autism?
Autism is a developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. Autism Spectrum Disorders are the result of a neurological disorder that affects functioning of the brain. It is four to five times more common in males and occurs in all social and ethnic groups. Family income, lifestyle and education do not affect the chance of occurrence. Autism has no known cause or cure.
Autism interferes with the development of the brain in reasoning, social interaction and communication skills. People with autism typically have deficiencies in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions and leisure or play activities. The disorder makes it hard for them to communicate and relate to others. They may resist changes in routine, exhibit repeated body movements and have unusual responses to people or attachments to objects. Sometimes aggressive or self-injurious behavior occurs.
Based on the current statistics, more than 4,000,000 people in the U.S. (almost 70,000 in South Carolina) have some form of autism. Yet the majority of the public, including some professionals in the medical, educational and vocational fields, are still unaware of how autism affects behavior. Progress is being made in developing more effective teaching methods and other interventions for individuals with autism.
For more information about Autism Speaks, visit www.autismspeaks.org. For more information about the South Carolina Autism Society, visit www.scautism.org.
For information about the upcoming golf tournament benefit, call Hollie Williams at Heddles Hideaway Golf Course at (864) 582-7579(864) 582-7579 or Gator Hudson at (864) 762-6301(864) 762-6301.