Ahhh Summertime….don’t get me wrong, I really do love Summer, but holy shit WK’s schedule changes are enough to drive anyone bat shit crazy. Most kids on the Spectrum who have an IEP in place usually are offered Summer school for 4 weeks. A few years ago I decided that WK deserved an entire Summer with no school and that I would send him to the YMCA at his former public school with a 1:1 shadow. Our YMCA offers an inclusion program that provides an Independent Facilitator (IF) to attend summer camp with your kid. In all honesty it is pretty fucking rad. We have been beyond blessed in having some AMAZING shadows for WK.
The ONLY way and I mean ONLY way for WK to attend summer camp with 60+ kids is with the help of someone dedicated to helping him throughout the day. Whether that means tying his shoes, helping with waiting in line, making sure he doesn’t get bullied, etc. The first year (3 years ago) we did camp WK had a super duper Summer however the transition back to school in the Fall was a nightmare. Last year and this year I opted to send him to Summer school on Monday’s and Friday’s and Summer camp Tuesday-Thursday.
The only downside of the YMCA is that they tend to go on the same bus field trips every year. The school site that I send WK to is close to the beach so their camp is fortunate enough to have 1 day where they walk to the beach, 1 day where they walk to the park and 1 day where they take a bus field trip. For example yesterday was Knott’s Berry Farm from 7a-5p. I can’t even imagine how WK would make it throughout the day without his amazing Aide who sends me updates throughout the day and pictures too.
This year his buddy Mattie was only attending the YMCA in June and August so I opted to find WK a new camp for July. After a shit ton of research, I found an outdoor camp where the Counselers have names like “Tiger Lily” and the kids are separated into similar age groups so WK is in the “Wildcats” with 10-11 year olds. Now the first part of this story is that the word “outdoor camp” is hysterical to me because WK isn’t exactly the type of kid who loves to be dirty and sweaty but here is a cute photo of Mattie and WK double dutch jump roping at the YMCA.
Camp James allows special kids like WK to attend camp with a 1:1 Shadow if need be. After finding that out all I could think was “HELL YES! I WON THE FUCKING LOTTERY!” I mean now it was up to me to beg his amazing YMCA Shadow to commit to WK for the entire Summer so that he could have 1 consistent person helping him all Summer long. After a few conversations she agreed to hang out with WK for June, July and August until she has to resume her teaching position in the Fall (yes she is a Special Ed Teacher, 22 years old, fun and sporty). After the year WK has had, this dude deserved some good news like this!
At Camp James the activities change daily such as kayaking
Or Arts and Crafts (which btw WK made a tie and on his own decides to put WK on the front of it)
So it is safe to say my Warrior Kid’s Summer is off to a great start. MUCH DESERVED after the bullshit year he has had medically. Next blog post coming sooner than later as we have had some set backs with his infusions. FUCK! Until then, campy camp camp rules:)