Monday, June 23, 2008

Camp Kaleidoscope 2008

We just returned from Camp Kaleidoscope a family camp for families affected by ASD and we have tons of laundry and loads of memories. This is the second year of Camp K (fondly referred to by campers and staff) and what a difference a year makes in planning.

Last year I helped found Camp K with my friends Peggy Kamens and Jim Mendell and the staff at Common Ground Center in Vermont along with a few other people that shaped a great camp. However, we only had about six months to make Camp K a reality. Which resulted in a fine camp for families and everyone loved that experience.

This year with the addition of Margret Novotny and ALMC (Augmentative, Learning, and Movement Center) we were able to offer graduate speech language pathologist (SLP)the opportunity to receive professional hours in exchange for direct work our with children with ASD at Camp K. How it works is each family gets one or more (depending on how many children in the family are diagnosed on the spectrum) family partners (the graduate student SLP). The family partner helps the family and the child for the entire camp.

In the morning family partners along with many other volunteers usher the children to "Kidsville", a converted horse barn with toys, art, and other indoor activities and a fenced outside playground with a large sand area, climber, swings, and water play.

Parents safely leave their children with their family partners until noon for lunch. While the kids enjoy the activities and just plan old fun, parents get to escape to either hear a lecture about parenting or advocacy or tips in handling tantrums, some people enjoyed painting or tile making, and most parents at some point just went and read a book.

The family partners got a lunch break and community workers helped families with lunch and then family partners were back to help in the afternoon. Our family partner, Erica, played on the climbing structure with our kids and I napped; I was grateful for the quiet time.

Over the four day camp, twenty-two families came from all over the east coast to Camp K in Vermont to connect with other families. Next year we are hoping to add another session since this year we hit our capacity of families and we had 16 families on the waiting list.

To keep the tuition for families reasonable we have done a huge amount of fundraising. Camp K is entering a new phase of fundraising, we need to became sustainable and we are looking for help from the autism community. One way of course to support Camp K is to buy a Parenting Autism workbook and DVD and we donate to Camp K. More on this later.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The First Day of Summer Vacation

6:15 am- My wake-up call.

"School today?", said Dylan

"No honey, no school, summer vacation."

thump, thump, thump...

Batman song playing in the background from their "movie computer".

I rollover to check email and to see the news for the day and I realize I better have a plan for the summer. The kids can't just sit in the playroom for the next two months watching batman cartoons. We need a plan, a schedule, we need to just get out of our pajamas!

I have been in denial about school ending and summer beginning. I love summer, but it just adds another layer of scheduling and work for me.

So, on today's to-do list- plan the summer! I know, I know I have been saying for months, "I want a low-key summer with less planning", but I think plan B needs to happen. Plan B schedule the summer, activities, fun escapes, and mini vacations.

Thank goodness we leave for Camp Kaleidoscope tomorrow for the next four days and get away from the movies. Movie detox that is what we need and we will get it at Camp Kaleidoscope.

I will post from Camp Kaleidoscope and tell you all about it, along with any funny stories and pictures.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Welcome to the Parenting Autism blog! The Parenting Autism blog will have stories about our life and travels, parenting tips, and updates about autism spectrum disorder, ASD. Come often and enjoy!