The Best Decisions Can Be The Hardest

So Lilly is in 5th grade this year, and around here, a major rite of passage occurs in 5th grade- WES Camp. Environmental sleep away camp for a week with your school. I think it’s a rite of passage everywhere around this age: I remember going in sixth grade, which back then was the last grade before graduating on to Jr. High. Now it’s 5th grade, moving on to “Middle School.”

I saw the info in her school folder awhile ago, put it aside, and promptly forgot about it until a reminder call today letting us know we had to tell the school if she was going to go or not, as the deadline for registration is fast approaching. She is in an SDC (special day class) which is a classroom of combined grades for kids with special needs. Apparently, since she is in 5th grade, she is eligible to go.

I remembered how much fun her older brother had when he attended the camp two years ago and wished that she could have the same experience. But she can’t. There’s too many “what ifs” and too many risks. She wouldn’t be able to stay overnight without a 1:1 aide and the budget doesn’t allow for it. Even if it did, there would a new schedule, new people, new triggers. We wouldn’t be able to be there in ten minutes if her behaviors escalated like we would be if we got a call from her school. It takes at least 45 minutes to get to WES Camp. There is the potential for her to wander off by herself, in the woods, or near the water. She has had loads of swimming lessons, but I have no idea what she would do if she was panicked and alone.

This is life with autism. Saying “No” to ordinary, everyday things because you know your child’s limits, even though you feel like you are somehow depriving them. Yet keeping her safe and secure is our number one priority, and I will never feel guilty about that.

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