As most of you have met my wonderful Son David, let me tell you a little experience when he was about 11 that I had with him in relation to a summer camp. I found after a long search a wonderful summer camp for David, it catered for children, teenagers, young adults with all types of special needs, no restrictions, and it ran twice a week for July and August.
I checked it out thoroughly, met the organiser and could not in my life find a better place for David to be, he would have fun, make friends, be in a safe comfortable environment with happy, positive, accepting people. It also gave me a chance to be with my other two children and do activities with them that I was restricted to do with David and it may even give me a chance to do nothing for one hour. Phew! It was I felt the best thing in the world; I was so excited for David and the rest of the family.
So… I spoke to David regarding all this as bubbly as I could and told him about all the fun, people, tours, etc. And David looked at me and said NO! So… I thought I haven’t explained it properly so I tried again and again the answer was NO! So… the day arrived and David said I am not going, so I bribed, cajoled, danced on my head, everything and NO. So… I said let’s just have a look at the camp together. By this time I was completely stressed. When we arrived at camp, David refused to get out of the car, the leader of the organisation came out and assured David he would have fun and told me some children are like this and when they come in everything would be fine.
I noticed every other child bounced in “happy as Larry” their faces full of the joys of life, but not David. Eventually to make a very long story short, David did do the summer camp, he did enjoy it when he got there, but he argued with me every moment he opened his eyes in the morning till he went to bed at night to say, he would not go again.
I was telling a good friend of mine over coffee who also happens to be a phycologist and councillor about this and explained why I thought this was so wonderful for him in all aspects of his life and as she can speak frank to me here reply was…
“You are not listening to David, he has a unique hearing loss and because of this, he finds it very hard to be in an environment with a lot of noise as he can’t distinguish all the sounds and if David does not want to be there, even if it is a great camp then it is not for him, he prefers to be in a one-to-one environment. Listen to him”
I was silent for a while and as she was a good friend of mine, I said Ok I’ll give it a try. So I then organisation a helper to takes David for 4 hours a week to do whatever David wanted. I suggested this to David and he said… Yes. Problem solved. David loved going out with the helper on his own time and did what he wanted to do, the twins had my full attention for those hours and it was all STRESS FREE.
What I’m trying to say is sometimes we may think we know what’s best for our child, but it may not work out that way. The best lesson I can take from this experience and would like to pass on to you is “listen to your child” it may be nothing to do with the best summer camp in the world, it’s to do with them, we don’t know how a special needs child’s mind works, we can only be there to accommodate and help make his/her world a better place.