Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Summer camp.

Every summer since Graham's diagnosis, we have done what Graham wanted to do - which involved a lot of staying at home and a few trips to the park. 

This year, I got an awesome summer job as a preschool teacher for camp.

I was so excited that I accepted the job offer immediately. I didn't stop to think about Graham or his issues or how it would work for him to be in a typical camp for a half day.

It wasn't until a few weeks before camp that it dawned on me that there may be issues.

Suddenly I pictured a lonely Graham wandering alone around the pool, or him melting down in the classroom with a bewildered teacher, or just him being sad and overwhelmed all day.

Luckily, one of my good friends was his teacher. And his sister would be in the same camp as him.

Still, the first day I was terrified.

Every time the door to my room opened, I was certain it would be the director telling me we were all booted. That feeling lasted the whole first week. I was so on edge.

But guess what?

We're 4.5 weeks into a 9 week camp, and have had one issue. And we know the why, and we easily figured out how to stop it from happening again.

That's right... we. As in his teacher, the assistant teacher... even the director knows about Graham's issues (and even knows about his freak out) and still think he's awesome.

They have made accommodations for him without seeing them as a burden. He gets to be the 'play caller' at the youth sports activities. He walks around with the teachers and they sit with him so he'll get in the pool. They know to give him good advance notice on anything on the calendar for that day. They bring him to me (after asking him - which was the key to the meltdown) if they're in the gym and the class music gets too loud, or if he's outside and the bugs bother him.

I love that his teacher and assistant think he's hilarious and adore him. The director thinks he's adorable. And the other kids do everything in their power (ALL of them, I kid you not!) to make sure Graham is okay.

My worries and fears of 'what might happen' could have held all of us back from a great summer.

With the help of some wonderful people, we have had an awesome summer. My kids love camp, and I think there will be many happy years of camp to come in the future.

I'm so glad that I didn't overthink it. 

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Katie is a mom to two sweet kiddos, one with autism. She blogs at Okay, Who Turned Out the Lights?.