Long Night Together
3 Staples Out of 5

The Cruelest Month

Pace TS Eliot, August is the cruelest month in our household.

Charlie has a week and a half more of summer school and then 7 days of camp run by the ARC, which he may or may not be able to handle (he did well last year and the camp is friendly and low-key but there aren't as many staff as there are at his school, partially because so many would-be-staffers are college students who have to go back to college and since Jim and I teach at colleges, can't complain about that).

The weeks afterwards until school begins following Labor Day are always tough. It's hot and humid with thunderstorms (and irksome changes in the air pressure), there's lots of unscheduled time, and everyone else is either on vacation and going on a trip or wishing they could. 

Yes, the words 'oh it's so great he's off from school' can grate a bit!

I recognize I'm whining. Plenty of kids have no summer school, or a few weeks of half-day summer school and no camp -- Charlie's summer school lasts for 6 weeks and his days are just a half-hour less than during the regular school year. But this is the time of year when I start thinking, year-round school would be the best for Charlie. Fewer disruptions and of course there would be breaks and vacations. It's the long summer holidays that he and we could do without. I'm anticipating his end of summer school anxiety to start next week, if it has not already.

The end of August is usually a bit of a scramble as Jim and I are both supposed to start teaching then but Charlie is off. It does all usually work out, if a bit messily (you have to be creative, let's just say), and everyone breaths a collective sigh of relief when it's the day after Labor Day and back to school.

August used to be the month we routinely spent two weeks at the beach. It was glorious and fun when Charlie was little but the last two years much less so, especially as Charlie, after a few swims and bike rides and a walk by the ocean, seemed to really want to be back in our house which, while not close to the beach, is just a few hours' drive away.

Things are manageable! But I guess we're always looking out for improvements.

After his post-3am going to sleep on Thursday, Charlie got up for the 7.35am bus, slept most of the morning, had a great afternoon including a great speech session, a happy bike ride, an early dinner, a good (non-napping) rest and then wanted a walk at 8pm. However, a severe 'derecho' thunderstorm had started pouring down rain with accompanying lightning and thunder so walking was out of the question. Charlie made several requests then waited, good as gold, in his brown chair. He fell asleep there and got up to go to bed around 10.30pm, slept till 4am, and we all did the yearned-for walk at 6am when the air, even in the summer at the end of July, is cool.


Eileen Riley-Hall


Amazing post. Wouldn't you love to know how exactly Charlie processes the weather and how it is that he is so incredibly sensitive to such changes?
I get the bit about downtime. I often think when the world is so neurologically overwhelming to a person with autism, the "mighty" schedule is like a series of road posts that makes the navigating bearable. When it isn't there, it must seem like chaos. Could you do a visible alternative schedule for his weeks off? I feel for you. Caroline was similar when younger. She is better now, but she is definitely happier in school


Could Charlie attend additional camp sessions for more days of structured, friendly time?

Yay camp!

Dixie Redmond

I'm glad camp is available for Charlie. Yes, August has its challenges, for sure. My guy has one more year of school.

Kristina Chew

@Dixie, one more year and then what, if I might ask? Because the issue of 'after school' is ever on my mind!

@Linda, Charlie goes to the camp till it closes in mid-August! We did decided to get him two extra days this year, as ESY ends on a Wednesday, so he can Thursday and Friday. A bit nervous about him though.

@Eileen, thank you for the reminder, will use a variation of the 'shirt and shorts' schedule I did for Charlie's 10-day break between school and ESY. I'd better start counting how many days he is off!

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