This is more about me than it is my son, and my own pride for a job well done. As summer quickly approaches and we get closer to being out of school with no support services, we have been thinking a lot about what we will be doing to keep up (and hopefully expand!) on skills learned this year. After attending the local Autism Expo a few weeks back, I came home with dozens of flyers and handouts on autism and ABA treatment centers I didn’t even know existed. That was decently encouraging, knowing that there actually are places in the area that offer services. I had no idea.
I contacted a few places to see what kinds of programs were available, the skills we were hoping to keep intact, and their costs, and waited. Here is the response I got back that was most interesting:
I wanted to respond to your email. Sorry for not responding sooner, but I must say I’ve read your email over and over again and it got me thinking this is something I’ve always wanted to do! With that said, I spoke with our Autism Coordinator and our Summer Camp Manager and we are very interested in offering this type of service this summer. We provide ABA therapy services, and we could offer this to you as part of insurance billable services in an ABA format. Or provide this service as a summer enrichment program. Our two gals are working very hard to put something together and share with you and others. We would limit the session sizes to no more than 7 to 9 kids.
I’ll be in touch later this week, and thanks so much for sharing. This is why we started our summer camp program nine years ago, because parents were asking.
Now, while I didn’t know at the time what they’d come up with, I was glad to know that the closest possible location was able to offer something. Turns out that this organization CREATED a program for preschool-aged kids that was specifically aligned with all of the skills I had referenced. Wow. Just because I asked.
This in itself was enough for us to be happy. Close, affordable, covers a good chunk of the summer weeks off, newer facility….the positives could go on. But, at this point, we are the only people signed up. They said they’d need at least 3 to make it functional. So, in a mostly selfish (but slightly altruistic for other desperate parents) move, I passed on flyers of the summer program and their upcoming open house to my son’s teacher/school. The director of the school stopped me yesterday to thank me for passing on that information, saying that they are always asked for programs for kids 3-5. She finished with “Way to advocate for your child!”
I really hadn’t thought of it that way, but I guess I did! It makes me proud that I was able to do something to make a difference. All we were thinking about was the best way to keep our child engaged this summer while out of school and about to welcome a 3rd child. Bottom line: It never hurts to ask.
Now, while we have no idea how our son will respond to this program, the instructor(s), a new routine, etc…that’s still ok for now because at least we have made plans to try something!