Ethan had an amazing time at overnight camp. It's a super experience for any kid, but especially Ethan to help him build independence away from the home. I don't know that he made any deep connections, but he did get along with his cabin mates as a group and participated in everything. I only got to speak with his counselors briefly at the pickup, but they thought he was great and had no problems. Ethan said he'd go back for another 4 weeks next year, and I think that's the biggest indication that it went well. He also wrote us some lovely 'Ethan-esque' letters letting us know that camp was fun and what he'd been up to. He asked me to write him back about what was going on at comic-con and any new Sonic anniversary announcements. I found that utterly charming.
Since he's been back, we've been getting Ethan ready - having him do some work 1-2 hrs a day so the transition isn't so hard. Working on some reading, math, and building electronic circuits (got a cool kit). He picked up his schedule this week and has a full compliment of Gen-Ed college prep classes. Which brings me around to the title of this post...
It's been a long term goal for a while now that we thought Ethan would be able to continue on to some sort of higher education. In the last few years, we came to the realization that a 4 year university was indeed an achievable goal. Well, he's a sophomore, and it's time to get serious. I've been researching schools with support systems for kids on the spectrum. They're mostly private institutions, cost a lot of $$$$, and are spread out around the U.S. I'd like to see if there's anything in California, which would be more convenient and possibly better to have Ethan a quick flight or few hour drive away. Ethan also needs to continue fulfilling the academic requirements and developing higher order academic skills. Unfortunately, not so easy in our public schools (the developing skills part). The curriculum is very disjointed and with this last common core paradigm shift, our high school district dumbed down the math by a full year on the average math track. We'll need to think about ways to supplement over the next 2 years without overwhelming him. He'll take the PSAT this fall, so we'll have some sort of indication of how much SAT prep he'll need as well.
Basically, what had been a long term goal is now in the short term bucket and we need to find ways to get him prepared academically, but also social and emotionally. I think living away at summer camp was a solid step for the latter. I'm hoping that I'll get cooperation from his teachers this year on working not just on academics, but encouraging social and emotional growth as well. Unfortunately, they don't attend the IEP meetings so we come up with ways for the SLP to push into the classroom to help work on group interactions etc. but then the teachers don't want the intrusion. I'm going to have to lobby them a bit.
All in all, Ethan's excited to start school and we've talked bout him working on some of the social thinking that he picked up while reading Socially Curious and Curiously Social
He's happy, healthy, just got his braces off, and is ready for sophomore year.