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Camp AFT Week 6: Meltdowns, Shake-ups, & Roll Call

Written By: teamcharliebear - Jul• 16•13



It only took us six weeks, but we did it!!!  A complete week at camp without a sick day or a holiday to hold us back. I hafta say, Bear’s been a trooper through it all. His schedule is nothing to scoff at. Most adults get tired just reading it!  However, the kid is hanging in there like “a hair in a biscuit” as my GranDaddy Bill Jones use to say, and I couldn’t be more proud of his efforts. They appear to be paying off as well.  He is pushing himself to find more words all the time. So much so that he has almost stopped using his communicator book all together. When we get it out for therapies so he can make choices of what he wants to work for on his token board often times he will space out, or get uninterested. We have to up the bar offering tangible objects in the room or something in his backpack. This could be due to the way they are running the camp. The counselors have laminated strips they carry in their back pockets. On one side they say “I want ____” and on the flip side  it has the words “YES      NO”. This way they can do things without pulling books for each child and work spur of the moment or on the fly with any situation, and still give opportunities for verbalizations.  For example, if Charlie is wanting a turn on the swing and we know this by him walking over to it….before he can sit down Dustin will get the strip handy and he might ask “Charlie, what do you want?” To prompt him to say “I want swing”.  Other times he might ask “do you want to swing, Charlie?” Giving a “yes” or “no” option.  This has evolved into our sessions as well and I gotta tell ya…he is doing FABULOUS with it! Truly I wish I had one of those strips and I believe all his teachers should use one! It was a genius idea on Dustin’s part in my opinion. The week wasn’t without its problems, mind you. We had our share of meltdowns…Charlie’s and mine! He was especially clingy for some unknown reason this week. While I don’t mind that I often wonder what spurs these emotions. I can’t read his mind and he can’t tell me. Sure, there are times that I have fairly solid theories as to what’s going on with him.  Days like Friday I’m as lost as an Easter egg on Christmas morning and it rips my heart out to see him in such a state. He woke up happy, got a shower and all was well when I went to do the same. However, when I came downstairs after mine he was hiding under the kitchen table. I attempted to put on his shoes, and he wasn’t having it! He started crying crocodile tears!! Seemingly for no reason at all, and there was just no consoling him.  Deep pressure, snuggling, pediasure…even dinosaur train on PBS didn’t work…until it did! I dunno why it didn’t one minute and did the next, but he flipped the switch from crying to shrieking with laughter faster than you can slap a tick!  It was like watching an episode of bipolar extremes!  We were finally able to get to camp…albeit an hour and a half late, but there none-the-less.

The week came with my own meltdowns as well.  I don’t fear much in life, just the unknown. Not knowing how I’m going to survive or provide for my children…? THAT WILL DO IT! When I learned the family business had decided to go a different direction..one that didn’t include me to be more specific, I got more than a little concerned.  How was I going to provide for my children? Afford the out of pocket therapies that I have been paying for alone more often than not all this time???  Etc, so on and so forth… The more I thought about it the worse it got, and to make matters worse I had business all mangled with personal. So there was nowhere to turn. Then, as luck would have it, I was talking to Rhonda at AFT about gathering bills to prove expenses on my course to try and get the kids their insurance back. This time hopefully a branch BOTH therapy places took, and I mentioned THIS website. Upon seeing my labor of love she realized my passion for spreading awareness and within two days offered me a job! I’m so grateful to have one I don’t know what to say. The fact that it’s  in the field it is..? Well, I think that goes without saying! I won’t be getting rich on money anytime soon, but you can’t put a price on this kind of happy! Wow! It may sound trite to some, but to answer a phone with a frantic mom on the other end who’s child as just been diagnosed….she doesn’t know which end is up, and I get to tell her it’s going to be ok and direct her towards one of the talented therapists there that can help open her world up to possibilities…? I was THAT mom once! NO ONE would talk to me anywhere else because we didn’t have insurance! I had money…then. But they didn’t care!!! No insurance, no service! CLICK! But not AFT! They saved my son, and now..I get to be a part of that. I’m thrilled. Not for the diagnoses, but for the hope we can provide. It’s the most incredible thing I’ve ever had the chance to be a part of (professionally speaking)and I’m so thankful to Rhonda, and Karen for letting me. Thank you Shana for setting up this site and getting my foot in the door…who knew?? Right! ;)

In closing, I’d like to announce the biggest accomplishment that Charlie had last week.  Remember the foam board I made with the velcro alphabet and his name at the top? Well, I taught him to say his full name when pointing at the words. You know what’s better than that though? He can say: “My name is Charlie Gregory” !!!!  He has to repeat it after me but he’s getting it.  Lock your daughters up y’all! My lil Don Juan is learning to introduce himself!!! Don’t say you weren’t warned….

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  1. Shana Hibdon says:

    So – cool! So glad this site has taken your life in a new GREAT direction! :) Stupid Cows for LIFE! :)

  2. Kelly says:

    I’m so excited for you in this new chapter of your life! I am thrilled to learn what bear has done at camp thanks for sharing with us xoxo

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