Ethan started Lego Robotics camp on Monday. He was very excited to go, Legos being one of his obsessions. He was smiling hugely when I picked him up, and happy to go back Tuesday. By the time I picked him up Tuesday afternoon, his attitude was beginning to change. He said it was boring doing the same thing for three hours every day. And he was starting to make the usual noises that no one likes him, etc. I felt myself go into “fix-it, manage it” mode, as well as prepare-for-meltdown mode. Yesterday, not an hour after I dropped him off, the phone rang. It was the camp instructor. Ethan was not cooperating. He was saying he felt sick (typical response from him lately when things aren’t going the way he wants them to go). He was giving his building partners a rough go. He wanted to work alone (which no one, except the oldest kid in the camp was allowed to do due to lack of equipment). I got on the phone with Ethan, talked him down a little bit, and made him stay there. It was a rough three hours for me and for him. When I picked him up ten minutes early, he bolted out the door, so ready to be done.
Ethan and I had a talk in the car on the way home, another at bedtime last night, and one again in the car on the way to camp today. I told him I need to be able to take him places and trust I won’t get a phone call that he’s not cooperating. He has been given the tools to work his way through these situations, and I simply can’t be there every second of every day to manage it for him. It’s been awhile since I had to remind him to use his words and not hiss or growl if someone is irritating him.
I had a brief talk with the instructor at drop-off this afternoon. He’s a young kid…..probably early twenties. I have no idea if he’s worked with any ASD kids before. I told him I’d talked with Ethan, and was bribing him with a Slurpee for better behavior today. I also gave him a brief lesson on dealing with a PDD kid who is also Oppositional/Defiant. I think he got into a power struggle with E-man yesterday which is bound to put us where we ended up. I walked out of the room, fingers crossed, breath being held.
Will I have to teach every person who takes some sort of leadership role in E’s life how best to manage him? What NOT to do? It’s exhausting enough doing it on my own. I feel bad for this instructor. I know he’s probably had difficult kids before, but ASD is a whole different ballgame. And I hate the thought that E might be remembered as that immature, pain in the butt kid. At the same time I need Ethan to utilize the tools he’s been given, I have a huge need to protect him, and explain him.
I’m ready for this camp to be over. It hasn’t been the fabulous experience I’d hoped for. I need more resources around here for camps that will give him the stimulus he needs mentally, while adequately accepting and handling his autism.