So you all remember how we were having bullying problems at school with Daniel a couple of years ago? Well last year was great because all the same kids were there and they'd all gotten to know him. The school is almost all new kids this year because there was such a huge change of people last Summer and here we go again. We've been having problems with a few boys in Daniel's class. One has been especially mean starting with the fourth day of school. Daniel was getting his books out of his locker at the end of the day and the kid slammed Daniel's locker door on his head. He and a few others thought it would be fun to play chicken with him with a basketball Daniel had gotten at recess. While they were playing chicken with him they thought it'd be fun to call him "retard", "sicko" and "weirdo". Daniel hit his wall and threw the ball over the fence when he got it, started screaming the F word (which he's never done before) and took the main kid's jacket from the bench, threw it in the mud and started jumping up and down on it.
So I got on the net to see if there was anything that I could use to educated his classmates. I found an awesome DVD called Intricate Minds II. When I was showing a clip of the dvd with other kids with Asperger's to Daniel he started crying. When I asked him why he replied, "I thought I was the only one." He's read books by kids with AS and we've discussed it a lot but it was the first time he actually saw someone else. I decided that I need to find some type of support group or something for when we get to NY.
In my research I found a little piece of heaven. It's a seven-week camp just for kids like Daniel. I really didn't think we'd get in as slots fill up quickly. I emailed them and got a brochure on Tuesday. I called the Director and we spoke for about an hour. He talked to Daniel for about 25 minutes. The next day I sent him a letter that I'd written to the school about Daniel and AS as well as his IEP (Individual Education Program). He wrote back and said he was sure Daniel would fit right in. I was sobbing when I told Daniel he was in and he ran over to hug me. That does not happen very often. While talking with one of the references, the mom of a boy that went last year, I realized it was the first time I'd ever spoken with someone that understood exactly where I was coming from. When I told her this she said, "Oh... just wait until Family Visit Day!" I'm so excited for Daniel. For the first time in his sweet life he'll get to feel what we feel every single day and take for granted. He'll belong and everyone will understand him. What a gift.
It's not cheap but you get what you pay for. There is one counselor per every two children! It's on an amazing 40 acres of land with a large lake and lots of fun to be had while they work on social skills. I'm hoping that our insurance at least partially pays for it. If not, it doesn't matter. He's going. It's an investment in his future and we feel we owe it to him before he starts Middle School in the States next year. We've always lived in a little community. Mostly here in Germany with a little three-year stint at Ft. Campbell where we also lived on post and he was in a tiny school. Next year could be a whole different ball game. We have no idea if we'll get housing on the Academy and that's the only way he'll go to that school. We wanted him to be prepared and to start school with a boost of confidence. Those teen years are hard enough as they are. Try it with already being socially challenged.
We had an AS awareness class during their health class yesterday where we showed the DVD. The kids really got it! The bullies will always be bullies (parents were invited but of course, theirs didn't show up) but it did a good job of reaching out to the other kids asking them to be "champions" and stick up for the child being bullied or tell someone. I couldn't wait until Daniel got home yesterday to see what the kids said to him (he wasn't in the room for the class). It was too cute. One girl told him he was really smart, one invited him to her bday party tomorrow (he rarely ever gets invited) and he said that even the main bully was really nice. When I asked what he'd said, Daniel replied, "Nothing. But he left me alone and for him, that's really nice!" Hopefully it lasts. Today he got another invitation to a party next week. Alleluia!
So, if you're still with me, I actually touched yarn yesterday! Nope, alas, not for knitting. I'm making gift baskets up as gifts with biscotti and Gingerbread Coffee Creamer. I used this recipe but I tweaked it a bit adding sugar and cinnamon. It's nummy. See the yarn? It's Classic Elite leftover from Aggie's sweater which you can read about here.