Camp Capers


Amidst the intensity of John’s home program, Sam finished his first week of summer camp…and loved every single minute of it. There were worries: the night before his first day he tossed and turned and would not go to sleep. Finally I went in and he said “Mommy, I’m scared for summer camp.” But the next morning dawned and he was game. As soon as he saw the other kids and the toys — so much like his classroom — he barely waved goodbye.

The camp is run by a group of occupational therapists and most kids are on the spectrum somewhere. There are a handful of ADHD and ADD kids too. What’s great is they get intense OT and speech 2 to 3 times per week. Talk about immersion. They also are helping Sam regulate his body with something called the “Alert Program” which teaches that the body is like a car engine and sometimes it’s slow or fast and sometimes it runs just right. This, of course, turns out to be the best analogy ever, since all things Engine are dear to Sam’s heart. All weekend we’ve been checking in with him and he has the same report: “My engine is fast!”

He is also learning, at last, to ride his tricycle. We’ve had a shiny new Radio Flyer for over a year that he has not been able to learn, despite our best efforts. But at camp, three people run alongside him to help him turn the pedals and steer. Tae kwon do, swimming, arts & crafts, music & drama, bike riding. He is one tired boy by the time bed time rolls around.

Would you believe that potty training has been a non-issue at camp? He went on the potty all week, even asked to go to the potty — except for one tiny accident. Which tells me that I’m a sucker at home and that he has me twisted around his little finger. I must become a hardass I guess.

While Sam is having all this fun, John and I — just the two of us — are heading to the neighborhood pool in between ABA sessions. It’s such a treat to glide with him through the water, his face alight with joy. Just as he does with physical games like tickles and chase, he comes alive in the water. Despite my misgivings, he’s doing really well after one week of ABA, and saying the most amazing, random things, like “Turtle. Scary!” and “Outside,” as he drags my hand to the door.

We’re off to a great summer, my boys and I.

7 Comments

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  • Sounds like a great summer for sure! I am a huge fan of the Alert program! I’m glad it’s working for Sam. I think it’s a wonderful, simple way for kids to learn to self-regulate better.

  • That sounds like an awesome program, or two awesome programs, actually. It’s enough to make you wish for 12 months of summer.

  • Yay! That camp sounds great.

    And I’m so glad to hear that ABA has worked out. “Turtle, scary” is amazing.
    My more silent twin has started saying more since we recently increased his ABA hours.

  • The camp sounds great! Our boys go to an autism-related camp every summer (taught by ASD teachers and therapists) for the last 3 yrs and they love it!

    btw your boys are just gorgeous!! I have twin boys too, they just turned 7. They and their 3-yr-old brother are on the spectrum also.

  • I have read both your June and July blog and I have to commend you on your positive attitude. I teach special needs kindergarten and do not always see parents taking lemons and making lemonade!
    It sounds like a great program.

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