Wednesday, July 9, 2008
My eldest son is 7. He was diagnosed with Asperger's just last December, just on the cusp of his 7th birthday. We had known something was up for years but couldn't put our finger on what it was or how to cope. We bought books about ADD, ADHD, OCD, graphomotor dysfunction, even Autism and Asperger's but we didn't KNOW until we traveled 3 hours to a specialist, not covered by any insurances, who charged $500 to actually sit with our son and figure it all out. --and then a second $500 to help us figure out what to do with the information. But he was worth every penny. It was a relief to know the name of this thing that controlled our lives. The thing that had become so big that a question like "What accommodations do you make for your son?" had become unanswerable because...didn't everyone live like this? Joey got thrown out of no less than 3 preschools. He was "removed" from the private kindergarten that was supposed to be "WONDERFUL" after only 3 days. He was a "disruption" because he told the teacher that the year 2006 shouldn't have smiley faces in the zeros and then insisted that she remove them. He wouldn't stand on the 7 on the carpet because he was NOT 7 years old. And he loved to turn the air conditioner on and off because he loved to control the movement of the air. Taking him out of that school was that start of a great change in his life. Two willing teachers and an IEP later, my Dino Boy is doing fairly well in an inclusion classroom. I just wish that everyone could see the brilliance that exists in between random acts of eating things that are not food and his stimming habit of bouncing round the room stretching his fingers in all directions. So this was about Camp right? Dino boy and Little Man (see my other blog for that story) go to a wonderful YMCA camp. Little man loves it and Dino Boy went there for part of the summer last year too. So I was very surprised when after ONE WEEK they called me. "Ummm, Ms. Eile, We would just you to know that we are giving you warning that Dino Boy may not be able to stay at camp this summer." Now what? I,single working mother am...screwed. But we talked. Camp talked to me, I talked to ex husband. We spent the weekend talking to Dino Boy about staying with the group, not eating things that are not food, asking for help, telling people that you are frustrated instead of running into the woods, and Dino Boy got it. He really really did. And according to camp he does great, until about the time when there is 2 hours left in camp. He can't hold it in any longer. He struggles so hard to keep it together that on some days those last 2 hours cause him to overload.... And I don't know what to do about it. I KNOW KNOW KNOW that he is doing the best he can, He loves the camp SO much. We had parents night tonight and he just gushed about every activity. But I wish I could just give him a break. A place where he can lose it and still be ok, a place where he can run and play and plan his Jurassic Camp movie and just be loved. So next year...maybe I can find a special camp just for him and people like him...but is that the right choice? or should I just immerse him in "normal" teach him to swim like all the other fish? I don't have something catchy to end with...just an open question I guess. When you have a high function kid, what do you do? Should I constantly challenge him to move up or let him just coast during the summers? He gets so stressed. I just feel that its not fair but when he grows up he is going to need to deal with the outside world. Do I teach him to do that now...or wait just a bit?