Today at church we got the updates from the chaperones. I am amazed and overwhelmed at the way that they all worked to be sure that Logan was successful and had fun. God really blessed us this week. In a previous post, I said that God really wanted Logan at camp this week. God taught Logan many things this week but he taught us adults many things as well.
First, every chaperone made it a point to make Logan successful. Ms. Shelton went with Logan to some events. She remarked to me how sweet he was and how he really sees the positive in everything. For example, one morning on their way to archery , she remarked how she hoped it didn’t rain during archery. Logan remarked back how if it doesn’t rain then the plants can’t grow and the world would be a dull place. My favorite story was when he looked at her at breakfadt one morning and said ” I guess we better get going. Those arrows aren’t going to shoot themselves.” I am glad that she got to share this time with him and discover more about him, especially since her daughter, Brooke, is Logan’s best friend.
Pastor Frank said that he would take Logan anytime. He commented on how much fun he had and that he was a good roommate. All of the chaperones joined us as we talked and told us different things that happened that he adapted so well too. Ms. Collins was the one that made me cry. She told us that she never realized how incredibly intelligent he was and that he read better than anyone there. He made his homeschool mama proud!. Here’s the crying part. She said that in a group of children, you could not pick him out as having autism. He blended in like all the other children. GOD is good all the time!!!!!!!!
Logan’s favorite part was archery. He loved shooting the arrows. Michael has a small bow here that he is going to work with Logan on. What a great RDI activity. I know that it has to make Michael’s heart swell when Logan starts to like things that he does as well. Let’s hope that they don’t shoot each other. haha!
Logan’s second favorite part was OMC , organized mass chaos night. This is a huge developmental feat for him. There were shaving cream fights, water guns, and a lot of noise. No one knew what the camp counselors were going to do. Logan not only adapted to all the change but he joined in. What a great example of flexible thinking! Thank you Jesus!!!!!
Today is also Princess Madison’s 6th Birthday! Happy Birthday Princess Madison! We had a great day catering to her every whim! Unfortunately, her birthday cake collapsed so we had to run to Publix to get a new one for her birthday dinner with the grandparents.
Logan was super excited to give Madison her birthday present. She wanted a game system like Logan and Dad so she got a PS2 with a Barbie Island Princess game. Everyone was happy.
Logan called again last night. He is having fun but you can hear in his voice that he is tired. Pastor Frank called first to say that Logan had not taken his meds yet that day. When I asked Logan about it, he said that time got away from him. It was so cute. That could be the reason behind the tiredness. I’m sure that he will remember for the rest of the week or Pastor Frank will check on it.
He went swimming yesterday afternoon. Pastor Frank commented on how calm Logan was when he got out of the pool. Of course he was, he really craves the deep pressure of the pool. I guess when pools go on clearance at the end of summer, I will be looking for one.
He also did archery. The camp counselor had to call Pastor Frank to come to help Logan. He needed to scaffold it down for Logan. Remember that Logan has no muscle tone so he was not being very successful at pulling the string back to shoot the arrow. After Pastor Frank showed him how several times and helped him to do it together several times, Logan felt competent. Guess what happened? He started doing it himself. No further help necessary. I love that I explained some RDI principles to Pastor Frank and he has employed it with Logan. Thank God for Pastor Frank!
Since tomorrow is Wordless Wednesday, I decided to go ahead and post about the phone call from camp. I wouldn’t be able to contain it until Thursday so please forgive 2 posts in one day.
Arpund 8:30, I got the phone call that I have been waiting and praying for all day. I was really resisting the urge to call and check on him. Leslie has been gracious enough to call and chat with me or to text me all evening so I would forget that I really want to call Logan. It’s been really difficult for me as I am anxious and worried and so want him to succeed. What a wonderful lesson in trusting God, huh?
Anyway, Logan called and is having a great time. He wanted to call while he was on his way to his nightly party to tell me that he couldn’t get swimming but he got archery and reporting. He was really jazzed about getting archery so I was glad about that. As for reporting, we have been working on a family newspaper here at home, so he already had experience and jumped right in. He sounded happy and said that he was really having fun. He said there was food for him to eat. lol The most exciting thing to him was that he got an electronic key to open the front door to the dorm and his room. He thought that was amazing!
So, mama can rest easy knowing that he is eating well and having fun. It is only 2 days until he is home and I am so anxious to hear the camp stories! Thank you Jesus!! Thanks to everyone as well that has sent me encouraging thoughts and marveled at Logan’s success right alongside me!
While Logan is off having the time of his life at summer camp, I thought I would take a minute to explain all the work that went into his going. There was a good deal of work put in to set it up so that Logan would be successful. In the end, the arrangements worked out so well that it was apparent that camp is where God wanted Logan to be this week.
It started months ago when Logan brought the slip home from Sunday School to sign up. I asked if he wanted to go and he kinda shrugged. I talked about how much fun it would be. He still shrugged. I had an overwhelming desire for him to go so I made that executive decision. I talked to Pastor Frank about if he thought Logan could handle it and he agreed that he could. So, I turned in the paper and gave my deposit.
Here’s where God took over. Pastor Frank decided that since he knew Logan the best that he would go as the boy’s chaperone. I agreed. He had taken Logan on some church excursions and had witnessed Logan at his worst (there was an episode at bowling). Then Logan’s best friend, Brooke, decided to go and her mom was going to be one of the girl’s chaperones. Michelle is a registered nurse so we had someone to give out medicine 3xs per day. We had someone to carry the Epi-Pen too and was familiar with it so there didn’t need to be a meeting to train anyone. All the chaperones are familiar with Logan’s food allergies so we had a short meeting about that and I sent a list of things he could eat and couldn’t eat along with some snacks and chocolate soy milk. I wasn’t worried about that as Logan is really good about knowing his food and if he has any doubts then he will always decline it.
Logan is staying in Pastor Frank’s room as his room mate. This is so he has a place where he can unwind and just chill. There needed to be a place where he didn’t need to hold it together, where he felt safe, and where he didn’t have to navigate any social situations. Kinda like a safe haven if you will. A place to recharge and go slow. Where there aren’t any demands placed on him. Everyone needs a place like that.
I know you’re wondering where RDI fits in so far. We decided to put Logan in to a class lower than his grade level. He will be in with the 3rd graders not the 5th graders. This practically guarantees that he will be successful and helpful to the other kids. Plus, the camp counselors will slow it down at that level and give him an opportunity to work it out. There is less expected if him at that level and to be honest, socially, it’s where he’s at. He is gifted academically but we are still catching up in other areas. He will feel competent. Ultimately that will leave him with a positive episodic memory of camp and of being away from home.
The final things were ones that God worked out for us. First, Logan got really excited about it. We talked about it for the past 2 months. We looked over the schedule of events constantly and talked about how much fun he was going to have. It was an awesome example of productive uncertainty. No one knew what was going to happen since this was the first time that he went. We talked about what classes he could take which completely floored me when he said swimming. He hates to get his face wet but he was undeterred when I mentioned that they would have him hold his breath under water. He wants to learn to swim so he can go in the deep end with Cody, his cousin when he gets back. He was super excited about getting archery. We talked about the nightly parties that the camp hosts and how much he was going to learn about becoming a Spirit filled servant of Christ (our new goal). He was more excited than I had ever seen him.
The second God thing was that someone at church insisted on paying for Logan’s entire camp. It wasn’t even time to pay yet when I discovered that it had all been taken care of. This person didn’t want to pay for camp for just anyone. They insisted on Logan. If we were gonna use that as an excuse for not going, God took it away. He wanted Logan at camp and made it happen. I have never seen God’s Hand at work so much as it is in Logan. It takes my breath away.
Logan has officially left for summer camp. He will be gone until Friday afternoon. He was SO excited that he could hardly stand it. I, on the other hand ,managed to keep it together until he left. Yes, I cried but then I had to put on a brave face and talk about how great it is and how much fun he will have because Madison was getting upset. It’s been 2 hours and I miss him immensely. Sappy, I know!!!!
One of the kids told him to put his pillow in the bus to use it so he did. He hopped right on and was ready to go as soon as we got there!
17 kids and 5 adults. They were all excited. I am thankful that the chaperones took the time to get to know Logan and his needs. They didn’t have to but they went well out of their way to set it up so that he could go. I know that this will be an amazing experience for him. One that he will treasure for the rest if his life. Let’s hope that I can make it through the week!!!!
Logan leaves for summer camp on Monday. Can you believe it? I swear I need to pinch myself. We spent the day doing laundry ( you can’t go to camp with dirty clothes!). This evening, we are going to pack his bag and tomorrow after bowling, we will go get the final things that he needs from Wal Mart.
So, at lunch we talked about camp and what he may find. I think that I am way more nervous than he is. lol We talked about his diet and went over how to pick out foods that he could eat. He has it all down pat. He’s excited and ready to go.
I informed both him and Michael that I know that I will cry on Monday when we send him off. I will be boohooing, I’m sure. Never in a million years when I envisioned recovery in him, did I picture this scenario. Recovery always was when he was grown. If he could live on his own with minimal help, it was recovery. I am so thankful that God had bigger and better plans for Logan!
Yesterday’s post was a great RDI picture! Logan was getting a lecture from Dad about something (I don’t even remember). He listened intently to what Michael was saying and referenced him well. You can see the referencing in the picture. ( He is looking at Michael while he lectures, I mean talks.) Two things that would have been impossible just a year ago.
The thing I love about RDI is that it fills in the developmental gaps that somehow Logan missed. Somewhere he went off the path of normal development. By going back and filling in those gaps, we remediate his autism and give him a better quality of life. That’s what it is all about, right. A better life for him. My goal for this summer is to keep working on the basics of RDI and to have the money to rehire his RDI Consultant, Donna Grosser by fall. You don’t need a consultant to do RDI but it definetly makes life easier when you know the objectives and have some guidance. I recommend the yahoo group, Autism Remediation, even if you have a consultant! They are an awesome group of people!
He has taken to RDI like a duck to water. Thank you Jesus for bringing us to Donna and for doing amazing things with Logan! May he be a Spirit filled Christian! Amen!
What a child with autism who feels competent looks like is happy and successful. That child will seek you out to join in activities. He will work at the interaction to make it a success. Most importantly, he will exude a confidence that you can not buy and others will notice. Let me show you a prime example of a confident and competent Logan.
Logan and Michael went camping with the RA boys from church. I thought that it would be fun to send them to get some father/son bonding done while I hosted a party at the house for my nephew’s graduation and my niece’s birthday. It was decided that all the festivities would be entirely too much for Logan to navigate. When the camping trip was announced, it was decided it would be a perfect getaway for them. Don’t forget that trust is a big factor in competence. Logan trusted that I would not put him in a situation that would be overwhelming to him. Who knew that God had arranged for Michael to witness growth in Logan. I am sorry that I missed it but extremely happy that Michael got to witness it firsthand. Michael missed out on a bunch since he works but he always makes time to work with Logan. If you were curious as to what a great father looks like then look no further than Micheal.
One of the activities was a scavenger hunt. I hate it when there are teams to pick as it reminds me of Logan’s lack of friends. This is Logan’s scavenger hunt team. Not only did Logan get to be the team captain but 3 other boys wanted to be on his team. They actually asked to be on Logan’s team! It gets better. His team won!!! What a fantastic episodic memory not only for Logan but all the other boys as well. They all won $5 in McDonald’s gift certificates each (Michael too since he was the adult leader). After camping, he & Michael went to eat lunch.
Then it was off to Disney/MGM Studios for Star Wars Weekend. Logan loves Star Wars so we thought that it would be a great reward for keeping it together at camping. It was a great reward but turns out he didn’t need it. He had a blast camping! You can’t know that in advance so it’s always a good idea to have a preferred reward for afterwards.
While there, Logan decided that he wanted to go through the “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” play maze. We have been to Hollywood Studios a thousand times and he has NEVER wanted to do it. He doesn’t like the climbing plus the need to navigate the social cues at the same time. We have never forced him to go on but he does have to wait for Madison if she wants to play. Luckily, his confidence is so high right now that he is happy to try new things. There is nothing better than to watch the true Logan emerge from the prison of autism.
What a difference it makes to have the right camp counselor in autism! A camp counselor should be as invested in your child’s success as you are. A bad counselor will not only make the experience less than stellar for your child but can also pose a safety risk. We’ve had both with Logan. I didn’t want to believe that the latter ones weren’t as invested as the former one had been. Logan suffered due to my inability to see the truth. Always trust your gut.
The first time Logan went to summer camp was with Mr. Frank at church. As a matter of fact, Mr. Frank oversaw all 4 years of CentriKid camp . Those 4 summers were met with some angst but Mr. Frank was always there to fix it. He wanted to see Logan have a good time just as much as Michael and I . Youth camp became a different story. Let’s start with the CentriKid examples.
One month until summer camp. We had the parent information meeting last night after the evening worship service. Logan is really excited. They told us what to bring, when they were leaving and we discussed several ways to make it successful for Logan. I don’t know what is more refreshing. The fact that Logan is so excited to go or the fact that the chaperones are just as motivated to make it successful for him as I am.
Logan will room with Mr Frank, the boys chaperone. He is familiar with Logan and has worked with him in the past. For Logan , that will be a great relief. He will not have to navigate other boys for the entire time. He will be able to chill out in his room and relax.
The kids break up into groups based on grade level. Logan will go with the youngest grade (Grade 3). This will set him up for success from the beginning. He will be able to do the work easily and he does better with the younger kids because that is where he is at developmentally.
Why are life skills an important part of our homeschool curriculum? A lot people seem to think of it as an afterthought or a non essential part of homeschooling. After all, they don’t teach these things in public school so why should homeschoolers give it any importance? It’s my stance that teaching life skills is just as important if not more important than academics.
For our children with autism, life skills take on extra importance. Oftentimes we aren’t looking at college for our special kids. We are looking at quality of life as in taking care of their own needs or living independently. I’m not saying our kids can’t or won’t go to college. I just feel it’s more important for Logan to have a high quality of life where he doesn’t have to rely on others for his every need This theory also pertains to Madison who has no known special needs. It’s just that paramount to their upbringing. Raising self sufficient adults will give them options that are not available to others who haven’t been taught these things.
What qualifies as a life skill you ask? Here in autismland, it is anything that you need to know how to do in order to function as a successful adult.
- car maintenance and repair
- financial literacy like how to pay for items, in a store, how to budget, how to pay bills, etc.
- meal planning as in picking a recipe, making a list, determining what utensils are needed
- cooking skills like peeling, chopping, measuring, canning, dehydrating
- grocery shopping
- how to run a household which is putting together the meal planning, cooking and grocery shopping
- taking care of oneself like bathing, teeth brushing, making doctor and dentist appointments
- cleaning house as well as doing laundry