I was so worried that I wouldn't find a good place for our asperger's child to spend his time in the summer. He is terrified of overnight camps, and some day camps are overstimulating and too crowded. I let him have some input on choosing ways to spend his time. For June, he will be attending a Parks and Recreation camp with 50 other children from 7:30 to 5:30. In July, he will be attending a theatre camp as well as attending guitar lessons.
All of those things will be great for him. BUT, there are still challenges.. I had to camp out at 4:30 am outside the Wichita Falls Parks and Rec center downtown to get him a spot in day camp. In the past, he has had trouble getting along with peers - and being bullied by his nero-typical peers during camp. Sometimes, kids on the spectrum need a little extra guidance and redirection. Sometimes, the staff knows nothing about asperger's or autism, and they think your child's growling, tantrum, or talk is "disrespectful" or "them being bad", when alot of times it is a manifistation of their disability.
I can only go through this for so many summers.. and it stresses me to no end that I have to work while my child is dealing with a bully or a camp counselor that may not understand. Don't get me wrong, our kids have had AWESOME camp counselors in the past, and things have gone great more often than not, but I still wish there was a better solution for kiddos with asperger's or high functioning autism.
My future goal is to work toward developing a "summer day camp" for children with asperger's and high functioning autism. If I had funds and if "Autism" was my full-time job, I would have tried to implement something this summer. I think it would be awesome for younger kids to get input and some modeling from older students on the spectrum that have been in their shoes and know what it feels like to have a meltdown. I would like to see a summer program that includes coping skills, social skills training, and life skills training that the kids will need when they go out to live on their own... (how a checkbook works, personal hygeine, going shopping at a store and paying for things themselves, loading a dishwasher, etc.) I would love for all of that to be incorporated into a day with activities they are "in to" like video games and computers, and group activities like swimming, hiking, playing games (which is personally really hard for my son - and another great time to teach coping skills!!!) and other fun activities!
That is in my "Autism Dream World" stage though. As most of you know I work full-time and raise 2 kids on the spectrum, and somehow manage to pay some attention to my husband, and volunteer as much as possible..... so, my dream is on "hold" until some major things get shaken up - or someone wants to fund the program! Call me if you have a big spender that wants to donate! :) Have a blessed summer!