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Going to a Baseball Game 

By Aaron Tanner

· Atlanta Braves,Suntrust Park,Autism,Socializing,Baseball

I recently took a big step forward with my social skills by planning a social outing. Last weekend, some of my guy friends and I went to an Atlanta Braves baseball game. The trip was my idea as I wanted to see the team’s new ballpark, Suntrust Park. Not only did I pick out the hotel, but I also had the responsibility of ordering the tickets.

The car ride from Huntsville to Atlanta went well. I managed to socialize during most of the trip. Since Atlanta traffic can be very chaotic and I do not have much experience driving in a big city, someone else drove to the city, which allowed me to talk to my friends without having to concentrate on the road.

We stayed at an Embassy Suites near the ballpark. For those who have not stayed at one of these hotels, Embassy Suites are a top-notch place to spend the night with a beautiful atrium inside along with a complimentary evening reception and free made to order breakfast. There was also a free shuttle van to the stadium. Although they could have had more people on staff for game days, overall the hotel was a beautiful place to stay.

There were a lot of people outside of Suntrust Park, and many were trying to get inside the gate. Unlike the Braves old stadium, Turner Field, the new stadium has an adjacent entertainment district called the Battery, which features shops, restaurants, a hotel, apartments and a stage featuring live music. Despite security being a bit confusing, I handled getting inside the stadium without an incident.

Our seats were on the second level of Suntrust Park to the left of home plate. From our vantage point, we saw the whole layout of the field.

There were plenty of entertainment options inside of the park. A live DJ played music for fans between innings along with contests for gift cards and watching the big video scoreboard to see people dancing in the stands.

For the kids, a section located in Suntrust Park called the Sandlot features carnival games, rock climbing wall, and a zip line. I also enjoyed the Braves Memory Garden, which is a museum dedicated to the history of the team. These highlights of memorable Braves moments include Hank Aaron breaking the home run record and the team’s 1995 World Series Championship, along with the garden showing the retired player’s numbers and Braves players in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

If you get hungry inside the stadium, there are many delicious options for one to eat. For those with dietary restrictions, there are vegan and gluten-free options available at the different concession stands.

What I really like about Suntrust Park are the quiet rooms available for those who get sensory overload. Although I did not have to use the rooms, I loved that they were open should the noise have gotten too loud. The organization does a great job of accommodating those with Autism and Aspergers. If you or your child is on the spectrum and plan on visiting Suntrust Park, I encourage you to click on the Autism Diva’s blog page by clicking here.

Unfortunately for the Braves, the team not only lost but got blown out by the San Francisco Giants with a final score of 11 runs to 2 runs. However, I still had a great time visiting the ballpark.

My friends and I arrived back in Huntsville Sunday afternoon. Despite being an introvert and being tired to the point I went to bed early that night, it was still more fun than going to the beach by myself.

Five or ten years ago, I could not have gone on an overnight trip without a family member. The first time I tried to take a journey with peers in college, it was a disaster. I have come a long way.

Parents, encourage your child with Aspergers to do things separate from your care. After all, you will not be around forever.

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