Camp Prep Starts
A Very Long Saturday (With Minestrone)

Tumult In the Inbetween Time

That way, again

Charlie's working through a change (an increase) in dosage for one of the medications he takes, along with transitioning through ESY ending and anticipating going to camp on Monday. I didn't realize how serious and solemn his expression was when I took the above phone in Jersey horse country Friday morning. Jim said he was solemn on the ride, a good 22 miles following a 6 mile morning wake-up ride.

In the white car after the 22-miler, Charlie started being ultra-OCD about a crumb and where we'd placed our elbows and then, for three minutes, was super-upset, to the point that Jim pulled over the car and turned it off.

The ride home was quiet and we decided to take the Byrds' off Charlie's iPad. Something about that 60s surfer music (the Beach Boys too) seems to get Charlie in a bad way.

He remained in the same frowning mood the rest of the day, through two more bike rides, a fast trip for a few amusement park rides ('you come every Friday, don't you?' asked one teenage worker; we noted we actually come quite a bit more), a swift-paced night-time walk.

I'm pretty nervous about how Charlie will fare at camp. The staff were very friendly and said they've seen their share of the sorts of the sorts of behaviors Charlie in distress can have. But there's not a lot of staff -- nowhere near as many people as at Charlie's school -- and I'm back to thinking, best to try the "short but successful" route and just have him there for a few hours on Monday and then increase that by a bit if he does all right. 

I've made Charlie a simple hand-drawn calendar noting how many days till school starts after Labor Day, when he has camp (provided we get through the whole week there), when my parents are coming. It's not as many days as sometimes in the past but still plenty. Charlie has set the calendar on the living floor near where he leaves his shoes, a place of honor and  the better to consult it and count the days till September 6 before which, we'll be at work prepping him for the return to school.

There's always some transition or other, isn't there? And being in that 'inbetween' stop -- it's like standing on two tectonic plates and sending maybe there's an earthquake brewing, or maybe just a resettling of order.




Good luck with camp. We had mixed experiences this year- my son lasted a day with no aggression/self-injury, but he obviously wasn't enjoying himself so that was it for him. One of my daughters went to a specifically autism-designed camp, and it was wonderful- the staff was just fantastic. They had a fairly high staff:camper ratio, but even the children who often would display behaviour problems didn't have quite the same incidence rate as usual. So we're 50/50 for camps this year, but the one that worked, worked very well.
I'll keep my fingers crossed for you over the next few weeks- I never thought that I'd be counting the days until school started again.

Melanie Harper

We have sent my boy (mild-to-moderate) to a local gymnastics day camp with surprisingly good success. It's the same gym he's been attending for private lessons for 3 years, and he looks forward to attending. It's not autism-specific, but our gym has quite a few special-needs athletes, so the coaches are pretty clued in. The coaches just offer him whatever activity the other campers are doing, and he can choose either to participate or else run more laps or do more flips on the bars. As long as he is behaving and not in the way of someone else's tumbling pass, it's all good. He love loves loves all the physical activity and the chance to just hang out. Hope y'all have a good experience!

Kristina Chew

I have a feeling Charlie might do ok with the lower staff-to-student ratio. Just worrying if he panics and has a 'behavior' -- tomorrow (well, already today = Sunday) is about getting together things like a token board and some 'calm down' activities.

50/50 sounds good J

I like those coaches' approach, Melanie! I told the staff we'd rather Charlie have a positive experience and not worry about participating in the activities. It's all new, new kids and staff and environment -- going to be a lot for him to process as it is!

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