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Sunday, July 21, 2013

This one time at Autism Camp....

This summer I wanted to go to Paris for my husband's 50th birthday. But, with Red quickly approaching his senior year of high school and his 18th birthday, we decided that it would be a better to invest our money in him and his future.  We want to do whatever we can to help prepare him for independence.  We are pushing him towards his potential to hopefully, get him ready for the world beyond the safety of these doors and his mommy.

I'll admit it.  I am his crutch.  He would like me to be the other half of his brain so that he doesn't have to think.  I want him to live a full-life. I want him to use all of his own brain-power without me to fall back on.

I always thought I looked forward to the day he would turn 18 and then graduate.  The truth of the matter is I.am.scared! Freaking out really.

Maturity wise, he is nowhere in the ball park of being ready to be an adult with all of the responsibility that it brings.   There are so many details about life that he just does not get yet.  His decision making process, impulsiveness, and different way of seeing the reality of the world leaves him with so much more to learn. There are so many social nuances that simply escape him.  This is autism.

I am terrified about the potential of his first real male/female relationship --his first heartbreak.  It's bound to happen right? I watched my now 25 year-old son go through it.  He was clueless as I watched heartbreak heading toward him like a gigantic meteor.  It hit him hard, as it does most people the first time your heart is really broken by someone who you think you love.  He did get over it, of course...eventually.  He doesn't have autism, yet to this very day, he continues to make one bad judgement after bad another, one decision always dumber than the last.

Watching my older son make so many bad judgements only compounds my worries for Red. The older one has taught me that no amount of good parenting in the world, changes the bad decisions that an immature person can make.  Red is a smart, talented kid as far as common sense?  He has some gaps -little missing links that will make his day to day decision making process just that much harder.

This is especially true when it comes to social and emotional relationships.  Red does not bounce back well from rejection.  He has experienced so much of it already in his young life, from simple friendships with both males and females.  He does not get over it easily when someone is done being friends with him.  He fixates and perseverates. He wants to fix whatever it is that he thinks he did to make things go wrong.

The truth of the matter is, it may or may not be anything that he did.  Relationships are not easily "fixed".   Sometimes, it's just the nature of people --especially, immature people who change like the weather, and have no loyalty, or energy to give a person who is different and doesn't fit in seamlessly to their social norms.  Let's face it.  People can be crappy.

So we try to keep Red busy --keep him focused on the positives.  We redirect his energy toward activities that will help him survive each day and in god-willing, help him with his future.  He loves his church...or I should say churches. (He goes to more than one.)  He loves his video shooting and editing projects.  He also loves working with kids with disabilities.

I found a sleep away summer camp this year that would incorporate many of the things that he loves, and some things that he has never experienced.  This camp is about 4 hours away from  home, with no phone calls home allowed.  Yay me! It is a Christian summer camp designed specifically for kids with learning differences and social difficulties, like ADD, ADHD, High Functioning Autism and Aspergers.

I can not say for sure exactly what he is experiencing while he is there.  Nor will I disclose the specific location of this camp since he is still there.  I will write more specifically about his experience when he comes home and can tell me about it.  I can say for sure that I am so happy for him to have this opportunity. What a blessing!
In the mean time...these pictures are worth a million words.

Snorkeling

Appears to be some form of Martial Arts

Kayaking 

Blue is not happy that Red found an audience
for his singing!

Red with one of the Camp Counselors
 Visiting from China