The Rowse Family Rallies Around Joy

Despite the hardships of profound autism, the Rowse family makes time to seek happiness.

Gregory ("Cush") Rowse is 21 years old, and he has profound autism. The term "profound autism" was defined by a team of autism researchers, clinicians, autistic adults, and parents of autistic people. In the team's guidance document published by The Lancet in 2021, the term was designated to describe autistic people who require 24-hour, lifelong care.

Gregory's parents, Tom and Kim Rowse, are a skilled duo. They have navigated and managed the support services available to prepare Gregory to live as rich a life as the world can offer. The journey is not an easy one, but they are dedicated. Kim says, "Gregory makes the call on what he wants to do and who he wants to do it with. I make the call happen."

One shining example of a passion that Gregory's parents helped him discover is playing a competitive sport called disc golf with his dad. Kim says, "They typically play several times a week. And not just because Greg loves disc golf, but because it is really important to keep Greg active. He's a really big guy–6 feet 6 inches and 310 pounds. He could steamroll me if he wanted to. It isn't good for him to just sit around."

Disc golf is similar to regular golf. Instead of using a variety of clubs to advance a dimpled ball over scenic landscapes and into a hole on a manicured patch of grass, disc golfers use an array of frisbee-like discs to navigate through a course and around natural obstacles and toward a basket goal. Above the basket is a rim with loosely hanging chains that help catch on-target discs and deposit them down into the basket. The sport has grown greatly in popularity. Many people with autism particularly enjoy it because it is adaptable to different levels of ability, and they can grow with it. It is also quite satisfying to hear the chains "speak" when a goal is reached. Greg's joy inspired Tom's friends from The Calvert Flyers Disc Golf Club to organize a local fundraiser. The "Cush Classic" tournament will take place April 9–10 at Calvert Road Park in College Park, Maryland. Proceeds raised through the event will go to a local autism charity. The club even had special discs created with Greg's picture on them. When Gregory saw the custom discs he exclaimed, "That's ME!"

If you are interested in learning more, visit: Cush Classic (2022, Calvert Flyers DGC) · Disc Golf Scene.

About Kim Rowse:
As MMG's Proposals Director, Kim manages all aspects of the proposal development process. She ensures that fact-based evidence and rationale for the strategic solutions that MMG recommends are communicated in our customized proposals and presentations. Her activities also include working closely with project management to build new case studies relevant to the current clinical trial environment. Prior to joining MMG in 2016, Kim was Director of Client Services for Gallup, a research-based consulting company.