Summer Progress Report

We have a raised living room, accessed by two shallow steps on either side of the room.  In the three years we’ve lived in this house, I think I’ve fallen down those two steps more than all the other steps I’ve fallen down, combined.  (I’m clumsy)  This morning, G saw a deer out his playroom window and called to me excitedly.  I rushed to try to see the deer before it ran away – and tumbled down those two frickin stairs.  G came to check on me, asked me if I was ok, and when I explained what happened he said, “ouch, that must have hurt,” and then he walked away.

Is everyone else as excited as I am?  He came to check on me!  He asked if I was ok!  He expressed empathy!  He didn’t laugh at how silly I looked sprawled out on the floor, as would have been typical for G before today!

This summer, while tough, has so far surpassed my expectations.  G’s first week of camp was stellar.  The BOCES did a great job preparing the camp for G.  And the camp assigned a counselor who works during the school year as a para!  They were prepared and brought in a junior counselor a couple of days for an extra pair of hands to make sure they had everyone covered.  And coincidentally, G’s best friend from 2nd grade was in his camp!  DH went along for the overnight part of the camp to act as G’s aide (it’s generally an unattended overnight, but we’re/G’s not ready for that yet) and they marvelled at how caring G’s friend is.  One counselor remarked, “R will get frustrated and yell at the other campers – but R never yells at G, he looks out for G!”  I have high hopes that the two other camps we have G signed up for will go smoothly.  They may not be as stellar as this one, but I think they’ll be fine. 

Today, we tackle swim lessons.  G is a fish and loves the water.  He generally does very well with swim lessons but will sometimes get overwhelmed with the chaos of 5-10 children splashing around.  And the screaming – why do all children shriek like banshees as soon as their toes touch the water?  Anyway, I’m practicing short intro’s to G’s swimming instructor.  We told the person in charge of the program last year, but it was midway through the lessons when we could see she was getting frustrated with G, and I’m sure she’ll remember because we’ve seen her around town since then.  But I can’t be sure G will be in her group.  So I’m rehearsing something like this:

“G has Asperger Syndrome, which is a specific type of autism.  He can understand what you tell him and can communicate well, but he’s slower to answer questions than typical kids.  You need to make sure you have his attention when you’re giving him instructions and you may need to be firm with him.  If he starts to fritz and hit other kids, then he needs to come out of the pool to cool off.  I’ll be here the whole time, if you need any help or have any concerns, just call me over.”

I’m trying to stick to three main points since this will be a quick, verbal rundown.  What’s interesting is that while I’m nervous about conveying the important information, I’m not nervous about telling a stranger that G has autism.  Last year, I was very hesitant to ‘out’ him unnecessarily – I was worried about labeling him and changing people’s attitude toward him.  This year, I am way more comfortable with G’s autism and am all about changing people’s attitude toward him.  I can see that information changes attitudes in a good way, creating an understanding atmosphere instead of the judgemental situation of my nightmares.

G’s not the only one making tremendous progress.

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Published in: on June 28, 2010 at 7:53 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. What a great post! It made me so happy. It sounds like you guys are having a great summer.


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