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View Full Version : Need some advice/insight re: camp issue


Zoemakes5
06-12-2007, 07:32 AM
First, a little background. DS has been to day camps in the past,
with mixed success, as they tend to pride themselves on the child
guided/freechoice summer activities. DS has trouble with "free
time". It's like deer in the headlights and he doesn't know what to
do.
When this year came around, I didn't know quite what to do. He's
12.5, and okay alone for periods of time, but not day after day all
summer long. (I wouldn't even want to see our electricity bills
from all the electronics play!!!!)
Anyway, discovered a program through our local Y that is
specifically for older kids, grades 6-9, I believe. Each week is a
self-contained "camp", with a special focus and activities geared
toward things the older kids would like. They focus on skill
learning and building. I talked with the leaders at the Y camp sign
up and really thought DS would like it. More structure, planned
agenda, very little free time. I brought the list of topics home
for DS and we talked about which ones he'd like to do. Well, the
ones he was interested in were Skating/Skateboarding, Rock Climbing,
and Cooking. The only concern he had was that he really doesn't
know how to skateboard, especially not the tricks and stuff. So, I
talked with one of the staff and asked about that, and they told me
that there were so many levels of experience, not to worry.
Fast forward to yesterday (I am getting to the question here, but
thought you'd need some background!). Much to my chagrin (actually,
horror!), the first camp was skateboarding. Knowing my son, I'm
immediately concerned that he will have a tough time with the
skateboarding and then not want to do the other camps (which I
really do think he'd enjoy, they are much more suited to skills he
has and interests he has.) So, I spend about a half hour yesterday
morning on the phone with the program director there. And, she is
very receptive, asks about specifics, etc.
DS hates it. I mean, asking a thousand questions about if there's
any way to get a refund, doesn't want to go back, hates it.
Apparently, while there's a pretty high range of experience/skills,
all the boys seem to have significantly more than DS. And, they're
not very inclined to assist. They're having too much fun with the
experience to slow down. And, even though I know for a fact that
DS's skateboard was purchased by my mom at a skate shop, apparently
the kids have been saying his board is a "Target board". (I really
don't think they're being mean, I think they were trying to help
give DS an excuse as to why his board wasn't doing what some of
theirs was doing.) He also ripped open his shorts and got a pretty
nasty rub burn up about half of his shin. Even DS admits that no
one is being mean to him. No one is teasing him. He was playing
cards with another boy and one of the teachers when I got there. He
just feels like he doesn't fit in.
So, the question (I promised I'd get to it!) is what do I do about
it?! One of my biggest hurdles working with an Aspie boy is knowing
when to allow him to quit and avoid what's making him uncomfortable
and making him stick it out.
The situation is also complicated because he does have those other
camps, which, like I mentioned, I really do think he'll like. I
don't want this experience (which we knew might be a bit
challenging) to sour him on the other ones.
Do I let him quit this one, very clearly explaining to him that
we're letting him quit because of the skill level and not wanting to
get hurt and that we're proud that he tried? Also explaining to
him that he'll have to do the other ones. Do I make him stick it
out? Do I give him another day or two and see if he can work it
out? If I do that, do I tell him I'm giving him another couple of
days, or will that become a self-fulfilling issue?

If you've gotten this far, I humbly thank you and appreciate any
input!
Michelle

Forevryoung
06-12-2007, 08:45 AM
If I had been born about 10 years later, there is a good chance I would have been diagnosed with aspergers... instead, I have a list of other diagnoses :goodvibes

Due to stubborness, I am the "I will get through x even if it makes me absolutely miserable" type of person. But, there are definitely things that I do regret forcing myself to go through. :rotfl2:

I would definitely say that he should attend the other camp weeks- they are things that he would enjoy and has a higher probability of excelling at them to a higher degree. He's old enough to understand skill levels- how some people are just naturally better than others at one thing than another. Maybe he will be awesome at the cooking and be able to "assist" the other boys that week. And rock climbing definitely sounds like fun- it's a great team building/cheering on activity a lot of the time (which would be awesome for your son).

Ok, what to do about this week- could you swap weeks? like not go this week and pick a different week to send him for the days he isn't going to go this week? Would one of the better boys be able to help him out? Could he "borrow" a better board when it's his turn to do tricks if they do them one at a time? That way at least when he is doing it in front of the group, he has a higher potential to not fail.

Hope I helped a bit

Earstou
06-12-2007, 09:34 AM
I always fear letting my aspie ds quit something, because I'm afraid I will never get him to stick with anything again. Kwim?
I personally would wait a day or two before making the decision to quit, and I wouldn't tell my ds that was what I was planning. It wouldn't work if he knew! I've often found that things settle down, and my ds 'forgets' there ever was a problem. Of course, if this is causing meltdowns, then things should change as soon as possible.