Our journey in the Autism Spectrum

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A Pengaroo’s “Fun”

On Tuesday I shared my experience dropping my son off at day-camp. If you missed it, check it out here. I’ve been getting inquiries as to how he did/is doing so I thought  I should post a follow-up today.

So, Tuesday, a whole THREE hours after dropping Henry and Lucy off , it was time to head back and pick up them up. Seriously. I was freaking out about THREE hours. Really?!?! Anyway, when I got there Henry was still pretty quiet but it didn’t look like he had been crying or anything and his teacher said he did “fine.” 

A little side observation here: My immediate thought at the teacher’s response  was that clearly, as lovely and wonderful as I am sure this teacher is, she teaches NT kids. Our SSD team would have been doing a happy dance right along with me! My friend, Kara, asked her daughter Ellie, who happens to have Asperger’s, how Henry did and Ellie responded with an enthusiastic, “Great!” Even Ellie gets how big these “small things” can be. And we love them for this, by the way!

Anyway, when I asked Henry how his day went I got a head-down response, “Fine. Can we go home now?” Okay. This was okay. He didn’t say it was stupid or that he hated it so I was actually relieved! Lucy, of course, loved it! No surprises there!  Later I asked Lucy how Henry did at camp.

“Well, he made paint.” Alrighty! Participation is GOOD!

I let the subject drop until yesterday afternoon when I mentioned that Thursday would be another camp day.

“In the Kangaroo room, Mom?” Henry asked. Each of the classrooms in the school has an assigned animal mascot.

“Yep. For summer camp you are a Kangaroo.” I reminded him.

Henry thought about this for a moment. “Wait, I’m a Penguin.”

“I know you are, Hen, but for summer camp you are a Kangaroo and for summer school you are still a Penguin. So starting next week, two days you will be a Kangaroo and two days you will be a Penguin.”

Henry seemed to be relieved by this and I could tell he was processing and the gears were turning in that head of his. “So, I’m TWO animals, right Mom?”

“Yeah, you are, Hen.”

With a smile on his face he said, “Like…like…uhh…like a Pengaroo! I’m a Pengaroo, Mom! Or maybe a Pengo for short. ”

“Dude! You ARE! That is awesome! A Pengaroo!”

“Or a Pengo for short, Mom.”

“Oh right, sure, of course, Pengo.”

“What about me?!?” Lucy chimes in. “I want to be two too! I’m a Fish and a Kangaroo. What does that make me? A Kangaroo-Fish?”

“Yeah, babe, YOU are a Kangaroo-Fish! Or, maybe you are a Fisharoo!”

“Yea! I’m a Fisharoo and Henry is a Pengaroo!”

From Henry, “Uh, Lucy, that’s Pengo for short, remember?”

I think camp will be fun for Henry. At least his version of camp and I think that’s pretty awesome! He just needs time to make it his own. So, this morning I dropped off my Pengaroo (Pengo for short!) and Fisharoo without barely a hitch! Who knows how the rest of the summer camp experience will go but I am feeling so much better about it and I think Henry is too!  

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Addendum: I discovered later this morning that, Maya, our Respite Care Provider, had talked with him yesterday about camp to see if she could help him talk it out. My message from Maya: We talked about it yesterday. He said that it was scary being with so many new people, so we brainstormed ideas of how to make them “not new”– playing games, sharing toys, asking to race, etc. I told him that every day he goes to camp he’ll get to know the other kids more and it’ll get easier. “The more fun the more you go!” He’s gonna give it a try 🙂 ~ Thank you, Maya! You are truly a gift!

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