MJ went to camp this past week. It was not the camp that he is accustomed to going to. This is his first time not attending a camp for kids with special needs. As I said in an earlier post, his special needs camp was full so we had to find different placement for him. We decided to have him attend the camp that was run by his aftercare program. We felt more comfortable because the teachers and students know MJ better now as he has been attending the aftercare for 2 years. We were also pleased that his sister would be able to look out for him as well. We were still a bit reluctant because we knew that this meant more students per class and not as much supervision as we would like. On Monday he was excited and couldn’t wait to get to camp. I gave the camp director the “watch my son and make sure nobody messes with him talk” and went about my day. When I returned to pick the kids up I studied MJ’s face. Autism parents know to look at all nonverbal communication! Sometimes It is the only way to figure out what is going on. By looking at his face I can tell whether he has had a good or bad day. MJ had a huge smile on his face and said “hi mommy!” I was super relieved that his day went well. On Tuesday they went on a field trip. Again I gave the talk and went about my day. When I returned to pick the kids up MJ was again very happy. When we got in the car my daughter began to tell me how tired she was from “watching MJ”. I had to explain to her that it is not her job to watch MJ all day. I waited until we got home and had a heart to heart talk with her. The last thing I want is for her to feel burdened with looking after her brother and not having fun with her friends. I explained that the teachers should be looking after MJ and that she needs to play and have fun. Wednesday and Thursday went well and MJ was in a great mood when I picked him up. On Friday they went on another field trip. I returned just in time to see them come off of the school bus. As we got in the car to head home, my daughter began telling me about something she saw. “Mommy, MJ’s friends weren’t acting very nice to him. They were grabbing him and MJ was saying let me go.” I immediately got this ache in my stomach. I wanted to pull the car over and get more information but I didn’t want to have this conversation in the car in front of MJ. I told her to wait until we got home to finish explaining it to me. When she continued she said that they were mostly having fun and that was the only bad incident she saw. She is only 8 years old but I have to listen and believe what she is telling me. I tried calling the camp after we had our conversation but there was no answer. I will definitely be speaking to the director on Monday and will
request demand that they speak with the other boys. My husband and I tried talking to MJ about it but with the limited communication we could not get any information from him. The only thing he did say was that he had fun. I am trying not to overreact but it bothered me for half of the weekend. I asked MJ if he wanted to go back to camp tomorrow and he said yes. All I really want to do is keep him home with me everyday all day but I know that is not good for him. I am a total “helicopter mom” and I am trying to slowly give him more freedom but it is So Darn Hard!