Summer Plans Now That There May Be No Camp

The Boy’s summer camp that he has attended for the past couple of summers has lost its home, and I am fairly certain he won’t qualify for ESY this year, magically, even though he has qualified since the age of 5.  This leaves us with a bit of a problem.  An unstructured summer for a kiddo on the spectrum spells disaster.  I would consider enrolling him in a program primarily for neurotypical kids, if I thought for one hot minute that anyone on their staff would have a clue about autism.  But since the paid professionals in the area still seem to be clueless, that is a lot to expect, and a lot of money to spend on an experience which could quite likely do more harm than good.

Time OutGrammy and Poppy have already spoken up, suggesting a beach day with The Boy each week, to get him out of the house.  Excellent.  The Boy takes to water like there’s no tomorrow, and thankfully doesn’t try to swim to Africa like he did when he was younger.  He can stay absorbed for hours just wading in up to his chest and jumping around, and I think that would provide a lot of sensory input and exercise in his routine.

Ever the planner, I am already thinking of post-high school experiences and what those may be like, so why not use this huge chunk of time in the year, which already has built in traditions and transitions, toward a better purpose.  The Boy has an undying love for PowerPoint and it’s Google counterpart, so I’m developing an idea to pay a bit of allowance for “projects” that I plan to give him for those programs.  I’ll give him a set of parameters at the beginning of the week, and allow him to develop something for me over the course of the week, building on the idea that you get paid for doing work, and that the work may include doing what someone else wants you to do.

Another thought I had and just haven’t had time to act upon yet is to reach out to some friends in the veterinary medicine business, and some friends who have multiple household pets and offer The Boy’s services as a walker, or a visitor.  If we can get him to learn some skills in an area in which he has great interest, he may be able to find something meaningful to do with his life and be able to give back to others.

I’d like him to read a novel this summer, even if it means we read every word of it together, but with enough supports and incentives, I think even this is attainable.

And somehow, we have to get him some time to socialize, which is the hardest part in our county, where it seems like it takes two hours to get from one end to the other some days.

Yet again, I find myself doing things that the professionals handled for us up North.  DIY special education programming around here, I reckon…

Our Summer Plan

So, summer break is here.  How did that happen??  One minute it’s May, and the next… Well.  The Boy has two weeks of vacation, just enough time to drive him up a wall.  He is spending leisurely, unstructured days at Grammy’s until ESY starts up.  ESY this year will consist of him meeting up with his teacher at the local library and doing God knows what school-type things for an hour and a half.  And then four weeks out of the summer he will go to a day camp for kids on the spectrum and their siblings, the same one he went to last year, which he grew to love.  And then he’ll have two weeks off again in August before starting up again, one of which will be spent visiting with Fantastic Babysitter and her new baby who are coming to visit (and I CAN’T WAIT TO GET MY BABY FIX!!!).

And me?  I’m not missing the summer break yet.  My job can be stressful, but I do not need the break anywhere as much as I did when I was a teacher.  Plus I live at the beach, so any time I get too stressed…  I don’t want to make you too jealous. 😉

Grammy is being the wonderful grammy that she is, and taking off work a day this week and next to take him somewhere special, maybe the waterpark, maybe a movie to spend some quality Grammy-Boy time with him.  And I get off work fairly early so that we can still go do stuff together.

I’ve seen some other great ideas for adding a little structure to the summer:

  • This one has a theme-a-day which is great to fit into your schedule when you need it or want it
  • These are some great ways to prep your child for the changes in routine, and how to add some structure to the summer
  • And this is a comprehensive list of ideas and resources to ensure brains are still engaged in the summer months

I hope you are ready.  I feel pretty good about it, at least for The Boy.  I hope we still get to spend some family time together, and it doesn’t fly by too fast.  It’s still my favorite season.

Let us know what you’ve got planned in the comments!

Camp’s End

Today is The Boy’s last day of summer day camp, and he said yesterday that he will miss it.  We’ve come a long way from it not being just like ESY, and the battles to get him out the door because he couldn’t use a computer there.

With the end of his summer routine comes anxiety, both the good and bad kinds.  He is excited to start school, and we meet with his new principal next Tuesday to see the school and get a feel for how his days will run.  Of course they are still working on his schedule and reviewing his IEP to see how they are going to have to meet it, for 30 days at least…

His dad will most likely not be taking him for his summer visitation at all, so The Boy has two weeks until the new school routine starts.  He wants to get in last trips to the water park, the beach, and all of those activities which require free time.  We’re also going to be looking at some used bikes this weekend, so he can continue to ride around the neighborhood with his new buddies.

And of course, I have anxiety about this new school and whether or not they will be able to meet his needs.  Will we be able to work out our work and school schedules?  What will they try to change when the 30 days is up, and how hard will I have to fight?

Deep breath…

Whatever comes, we can handle it.  He didn’t like camp at first, and now he is going to miss it.  Me too.

hanging out

Lost in the Shuffle

A lineup The Boy had me capture at camp

A lineup The Boy had me capture at camp

The Man and I are both feeling like The Boy is suffering from a lack of attention, lately.  We’re trying to compensate, but if you think about it, we needed him rather out-of-the-way for the move and the unpacking, and now the wedding is upon us.  The Boy has rolled with everything relatively well, although his summer day camp turned out to be more different than his previous ESY program than he thought was manageable — we’re still working on it.  Upset by the startling lack of computers at the camp, he was mollified a bit by the introduction of his own netbook at home on which he can make PowerPoints.

And of course, Grammy and Poppy have been amazingly accommodating, letting The Boy hang out at their place, and keeping an eye on him while I run errands as we get the house unpacked and ready for guests this weekend.

But both The Man and I feel as if we’ve made some promises on which we haven’t yet followed through, and we’re feeling a little guilty.  We talked about a new bike when we donated his old one (which was way too small), as well as a new boogie board, and a new “wrestling” mat.  He’s even supposed to get a new Captain-style bed, which The Man will make for him (The Boy likes to call it a “Hidey-hole” bed, because it will have a hiding space underneath), but it hasn’t happened yet.

We try to put it in perspective, and he hasn’t been complaining, but…  Those nagging feelings of guilt.  The Man and I are both people to whom a promise is no small thing, and we will follow through.  In the meantime, we have to make sure to spend time with him (even when he just wants to hole up in room with an electronic device).  Luckily, he’s been a great sport, and luckily spending time with him is something we can definitely do right now.

Moving House: The Boy

You are probably wondering how The Boy has done, seeing as autism and any kind of change don’t generally mix well, and moving house is a change in a league all of its own.  The short answer is that he has done amazingly well!

Here’s what I think helped:

Grammy and Poppy were there to help ease the transition.  The Boy loves his grandparents, and they are a constant in his life.  Having them come up to help with the move helped remind him of what he had to look forward to — more time with his grandparents!  They are also a little less threatening than Mom, so Grammy helped him pack up his room, which calmed his fears that we were getting rid of all of his stuff!

Preparation.  We’ve been prepping the Boy for almost a year, first introducing it as an idea, and then gradually replacing the “Wouldn’t it be cool if…?” with “Won’t it be fun when we…?”  We addressed each of his fears as they came up, and made sure not to make light of them.  We also spent a lot of time focusing on the positives.

The Moving Book.  Anytime I heard him start to fret about the move, I made sure to pull out the moving book (or at least made a point to remember to do that at a quiet part of the day).  It really did seem to calm his fears, I think because it worked as a visual cue to address his fears and remind him of the positives, and visual cues really work.

Addressing his biggest fear ASAP.  One of The Boy’s biggest concerns was missing his ESY program.  As quickly as I could, I found a similar program in our new state.  Because of the timing of our move, I didn’t think I’d be able to get him into one provided by his school district, and truth be told, finding one that was going to be the right fit was a bit of a challenge.  But in a totally coincidental way, we (I say we because Grammy helped a bunch on this front) found a summer day camp for kids with autism and their siblings in our new area that was relatively affordable and got him enrolled ASAP so that he would have a replacement for the program he cared so much about.  He went from whimpering about missing ESY to being excited about Camp SMILE.  And because he attends daily, it is a new and immediate routine, and provides him with an opportunity to make new friends (one of his other biggest concerns).

His room is still full of boxes, as most of them are, and he’s been wearing his new Spongebob hoodie just about everyday (he tends toward clothing exclusivity when stressed), but he really has made an excellent transition, and I am so proud and happy for him.

moving!

IEPs, and Moving Trucks, and Appointments, Oh My!

Tomorrow, The Boy’s IEP team meets.  I am extremely lucky to have teachers that get him, and fight for what he truly needs, and a school system that allows us to make the best decisions for him that are not based on the almighty dollar.  I know many districts are not like that (ahemsome rather intimately…), and I know this isn’t the typical IEP experience.  I’m a little nervous about this being the last IEP meeting where I do not have to fight tooth and nail for my son.

kid to do list, list, Be happy and go home

kid to do list, Carissa GoodNCrazy

I also have to make arrangements and get things done — no rest for the wicked on this day.  Securing a rental truck for our big move, speaking to our wedding officiant, doing paperwork for The Boy’s summer day camp… The list goes on and on.

And finally, thanks to our super-accomodating pediatric office (*sarcasm*), I have to pull The Boy out of school at the end of the day, causing him to have to miss Kids Club for his physical appointment.  We’ve prepped him (both at home and at school – I LOVE his teacher!), and he should be OK, but you just never know.  I’ve built in a few treats after the appointment (a trip to Target, and dinner at his favorite restaurant) so that he has “good stuff” to look forward to and get him through.

And so… When I am busy like this, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, but I’m actually doing OK.  I enjoy having a list of things to do, and especially relish the crossing-off of the things on the to-do list.  I feel like every “check!” is bringing us closer to family, summer, and the beginning of something beautiful.