Back from Scout Day Camp. Nathan and I arrived just a few minutes after 8:00 yesterday morning. I put on my camp shirt, but I guess I should have known better than to put his Lego Star Wars shirt. There was no getting him to take it off and put on a neon green t-shirt. Peer pressure doesn’t work on him, he couldn’t have been less interested that all the other boys had on the same shirt that I was trying to get him to put on.
It was a beautiful morning, not too hot. After the usual ruckus of trying to get hundreds of boys to their appointed stations, we made it to his. It was a discussion on the solar system. Naming the planets, learning how far they were…and that was as long as he lasted. I do work with him on participating and try to help him learn about being part of a group. But, when things are so out of his area of interest and understanding I have to really think about who I am doing it for. Is it for him? Is it for me? Or is it for others?
Unfortunately, we as parents are not as immune to peer pressure like so many of our children. Even after 19 years, a combined 34, of the autism experience I still feel pressure at times. Most of it not by individuals, but by societal norms. Nathan is nine and I know if pushed him he would have sat there, not understood, giggled the whole time and been a great distraction.
So I made a choice. He didn’t want to be there, clearly. So we walked around the campgrounds and looked for groups that might be interesting to him. We spent a few minutes here and there. Went back to our campsite and sanded a project. Then we decided to join the cave tour
instead of waiting for our troop’s turn that was scheduled at the end of the day. He had a good time and the troop we joined were welcoming. After that, I couldn’t talk him into staying for lunch. He was ready to go. He was happy, but it was time. Our first attempt at a 3-day camp lasted 4 hours. SUCCESS!
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