Summer is finally upon us. This year for the first time, Debbie will have a more structured summer than usual. Since she was about 5 years old, we have denied ESY services. I have always held firm in my belief that summer is a well-deserved break from school. It should be about swimming, staying up later than normal, vacationing, and also just being plain lazy. Debbie has always maintained the skills that she acquired during the school year, and because regression was never an issue, the team eventually stopped suggesting it. Until this year. Debbie’s SPED teacher (who we are going to miss more than words can ever explain!) shared a summer camp program aimed specifically at children who have autism. It sounded amazing. Three hours (from 8 to 11 in addition to a 25 minute bus ride) for 3 days a week for the month of July. Arts and Crafts, Computer Time, Social Skills, Minimal Academics, Snack. No downtime and lots of time to practice and apply essential social and academic skills. Joey applied to volunteer there and it was going to be a great activity for both kids. Until…
Communication was horrendous from the get-go. I was making several phone calls to find out information. My calls were not being returned and when they were returned it was several weeks later. The camp started in July and by the end of May I still hadn’t heard anything about either kiddo. With Joey’s application, I had to do the mad dash to get it in by the deadline b/c the person in charge had my email address wrong. It was very frustrating.
Vince and I went on the tour of Debbie’s new school at the very end of May. The supervisor of Elementary Special Ed gave us the tour and also talked with us about summer options. During the summer, the school has two programs going. One was a camp program with peers and kids who have special needs and the other was an academic program for kids who have autism. I was intrigued by the camp option and asked to hear more.
This program is 3 days a week for four hours (10 to 2) for the month of July. It is a 15 minute ride from my house so I will provide the transportation. The camp includes arts and crafts, music, computer time, snack, and infuses academics and social skills throughout the day. Joey can volunteer there as well. Hello! I immediately let them know we were on board. I am completely confident that Debbie will make a better transition in the fall. She will be familiar with the school and will associate it with the fun memories she made over the summer. I am also excited that she has the opportunity to do something fun with Joey in an environment that is appropriate for her. It will be a summer of growth and I can’t wait to see the end results!