By Christine Denise
Autism Mom and Contributing Writer for As You Are, a virtual clinic dramatically increasing access to early autism diagnostic services through the use of exclusively telehealth appointments
My babysitter was so excited, she couldn’t wait to tell me.
She had taken my son to a place equipped with every swing and sensory experience imaginable for special needs kiddos and found out they had a summer camp program.
She and I had both talked about how we had wished there were summer camp options for special needs kids.
It felt so unfair to bring my older neurotypical kids to summer camps, and have my son with autism go home with my sitter.
She took him to as many places as possible, but couldn’t give him exposure to other kiddos just like him or even neurotypical kids.
So when she told me about the summer camp she discovered, my heart sank.
I should have known about this.
I should have researched more.
I failed him.
She texted me about it while I was at work.
I tried not to let the voice in my head overwhelm me.
But it did.
I had a meeting to go to.
Work is another way that guilt creeps in.
Look at me, I don’t even have time to research this camp now because I have to work.
I’m failing him.
I sat down at my boss’s desk, ready to talk about the projects we had ahead of us, and just lost it.
At times like that, I dig down deep in my internal memory box for the quotes and moments that have helped me learn how to move forward in this journey with my son.
I was propelled back to a summer family gathering when a crowd of concerned cousins had gathered around me to learn more about my son’s conditions.
One of my cousins is a speech therapist.
At the time of that gathering, my son was too young to even have speech therapy, so I didn’t really realize how much more she knew about what was ahead for us.
I was doing the same thing.
Going through all of the things I felt like I should be doing for my son.
I really need to make time to sit down and read all of the autism parenting magazines.
I really need to see if there is any funding out there for him.
I really need to see if there is more therapy, more programs, more oral sensory tools than the ones I have for him.
I don’t know if the school he is in is the best place for him.
Words to live by
That’s when my cousin, the speech therapist, said it:
“Parents of special needs kids never feel like they’re doing enough. No matter how much or how little you do, you will never feel like you’re doing enough.”
It’s so true.
And realizing that helps.
It helps stop me from losing it when I learn about a program too late for him.
And it forces me to look at all I have done for him.
My sitter helped me with that one this time, reminding me that he had a great summer.
Sure it would have been great for him to go to that camp, but he still had a great summer without it.
He went to the zoo, the pool, parks, the sensory gym and worked on a bunch of independence skills with my babysitter at home.
I had found her for him.
And this summer, that was enough.
Do you have questions about your child’s development? The team at As You Are provides useful autism screening and diagnostic evaluations for kids 16 months to 10 years old via telehealth appointments.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This is a sponsored blog post, but all opinions are my own.