This year Christian has participated in the COSMIC program and Spring Grove’s summer camp program, Camp Quest. With both programs, I have to give a “shout out” to the kids; they have been so polite, patient and courteous with Christian. It has been said that a child’s behavior is a reflection of their upbringing and education. Obviously, someone has taught these kids the importance of acceptance and compassion.
My son is not always the easiest kid to like or engage with; however, no matter how grumpy or stand-offish Christian appears, the kids always welcome him with open arms and enthusiastically try to get him engaged in various activities. As a parent of a child like Christian, it can be heartbreaking to see other kids (and even adults) snicker, or make rude comments about his behavior. It is also hard, now that he is 13, that his chances of having a girlfriend or attending a dance or prom are slim. At one of the programs, Christian has taken a “liking” to a certain girl and – bless her heart – she knows this and is very understanding about it. She always makes it a point to say “hi” to Christian and will let Christian stand next her during certain activities. Ironically, when she says hello to him, he puts his hand over his face and then says “hi!”. He gets extremely shy around her, but he will follow her around and stare at her. Most girls would be “creeped” out by this, but she graciously accepts it. As a mom, I am so grateful for the kids at these programs for trying so hard to make Christian feel welcome and apart of the group.
This year at summer camp, he actually played UNO and participated in activities he has never tried before. However, with UNO, Christian needed the assistance of his TSS and he had to have his cards displayed in front of him. There was a little boy at camp who always “hung around” Christian always tried to get him engaged in the activities. These issues may not be a “big deal” to other parents, but to me it means a lot.
I am extremely grateful for the compassion and patience that these kids have shown my son, and I am also grateful for the parents, teachers and aides who apparently have taught them the importance of having patience and kindness towards those who are different.
I know I may have mentioned his success at camp previously, but I wanted to emphasize the importance of recognizing that anyone can have a positive effect on someone with autism. I think most kids fear kids like mine because they are not sure how they will react to them and I completely understand that; that is why I am so grateful to the kids of these programs for stepping up and helping Christian make 2013 a great year!