My child

Is not autistic.

I am not in denial. I am merely pointing out facts.

I'm not even sure if he even knows what autistic means, even though he's been surrounded by it 4 days a week for the past month, as well as throughout last school year.

Last year my children's school added a new classroom - the autism resource room. This autism room has a half dozen students of Kindergarten age. Throughout the school year, the "normal" (I hate that word!) Kindergartens would include the autism class in as many activities as they could.

This summer a new program was created. The autistic students would team up with their "non-disabled peers" (school wording, not mine- I think that's a little fucked up) for a 4-week summer camp. The plan was to have all the students, total of 10 work together, interact, and hopefully learn from each other.

This summer camp is now coming to a close. I believe is was a huge success. Every morning I would watch all of the students bounce into the school. After a few hours I would watch them all return to their parents, smiles on every single face. My son would tell me all about the games he played and who he played with, which was almost everyone in the camp, autistic and not.

I am so grateful that he was granted this opportunity. I want my children to be involved with others who are not like them instead of seeing them as inferior.

Every morning my boy was so excited to go to camp. He was so happy. Except...

Yes, there is a downfall. My boy seems to have picked up some bad habits. He has been screaming. In the house, in the car, and anywhere else we go. After a few days I finally thought to ask him why he was screaming all the time. His answer, because T screams at camp.

T, one of the autistic children, is the sweetest boy. Almost every day he would show me his bright red tennis shoes. How they still look brand new is beyond me. My boy's shoes look like they've been to hell and back. Twice. As sweet as T is, he is definitely a screamer. He can also be somewhat defiant, which now makes me look at my own child in a different light. Defiant doesn't begin to describe how he's been this past week.

Today is the last day of summer camp. I am hoping by next week, my boy's behavior returns to how he was before. Still stubborn, but not as defiant. And definitely not screaming. If it doesn't, I don't know what I'm going to do.


Oka said...

My 4 year old actually attends (last school year and this coming school year) a pre-school that half the class are IEP students. The IEPs can be physical or mental. The other half of the class are typical performing peers/mentors.

Bubby is not my first to attend such a school. In fact, all my boys have. I am so very grateful for the experience. My boys have learned to except others for their differences and to have compassion for others. Several teachers have pointed out how well my kids do with others.

Kmama said...

The camp sounds like a great opportunity for both groups of kids to get together, but I would be frustrated at the new "habits" that were picked up.

I hope a week away helps and that he goes back to his normal self.

Helene said...

What a wonderful resource your school has offered to these children! But yeah I could see your frustration and concern about the new behaviors your son has developed. Hopefully after camp is done, he'll return to his previously non-screaming state!!

Babes Mami said...

This camp sounds great, a really good learning opportunity for him. Except for that whole screaming thing.

Alison@Mama Wants This said...

Sounds like a great camp - marred by the screaming :(

I'd think that if it didn't take much time for him to pick it up, it'd take very little time for him to drop him. Fingers crossed.

The Blue Zoo said...

Did you try screaming back? ;)

Shell said...

What an amazing program!

When my oldest went to camp, he came home with all sorts of annoying habits- though from "normal" kids. ;)