Ellie is in grade 3. She suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome. Aged 9 she has never spent a night away from home. Recently she attended camp at Cave Hill Creek, and her dad Peter came along as a parent helper.
Camp is a challenging yet wonderful experience for kids with Asperger and Autism. For these kids routine is a security blanket. Dealing with anything unknown is a challenge. And yet many times in her life Ellie will be confronted by a place, a person, food, etc that is outside her routine. Camp is all of these, but the structured and supervised environment is the perfect place for special needs kids to overcome this challenge. The next time they are faced with something unusual they can refer back to their camp experience and say “I can do this”.
A talented student, Ellie is already doing grade 6 work. However she struggles socially. Nonetheless Ellie is flourishing on camp. Away from the normal routine of her home and school she is learning new skills, building some independence and trying new things, and all with the support of her teachers and friends. This morning Ellie decided for herself what to wear, chose her own breakfast and made arrangements to brush her teeth, all without seeking Dad’s reassurance. Ellie was not capable of such things two days ago. Peter was most impressed.
And camp can be good opportunity for parents too. They too deserve a break from the demands of an Asperger’s son or daughter. After the success of camp Peter is already planning his first three day break while she is on camp next year.
*Please note names have been changed