Right around the time that I started writing on Xanga, I had just finished working at a camp for kids with special needs, so a lot of those stories went untold. We had kids that ranged from ADD and ODD to severe autism and spina bifida. The group was split into cabins – mine being Oneida. In a perfect world, the cabins would be evenly distributed with kids from every disorder, as to not overwhelm the counselors. Of course, this is no perfect world, and the first week of camp Oneida was affectionately known as the “Autistic Cabin,” 10 out of the 15 boys were somewhere on the autistic spectrum.
Bubbles, “clean mud,” and chalk were our best friends that week. We used three cases of bubbles and came back to the staff dorms sticky, every night. I was a fan of the clean mud more than the campers were, I think.
One of our campers an autistic boy, we’ll call him B, had been to camp the year before. His best friend, C, had been there with him the year before. However, the camp is split into weeks by age and C had recently graduated into the older week, so B and C would not be seeing each other this year. B went through rolls of paper, writing “C,” and “home.” He knew which bed C had slept in the year before, he knew which table they had always sat at, and for the first few days anytime he thought of C, he’d burst into tears.
“C come?” was the question he asked over and over and over again. For a while, us counselors, most of us new at this, would simply respond with a “not yet,” or something similar. However, as the days went on, this didn’t cut it anymore. Our answer became, “not until Sunday.” This seemed to placate him a bit more, by the time the week was up, the exchange looked like this:
“When does C come, B?”
What day of the week do you look forward to?