The Autism Society of Maine, or ASM, hosts a family retreat weekend every year where the families of those with autism can come together. There is an amazing array of respite workers who whisk our kids away and give us, the adults, some … well, adult time.
How it works is this:
We’re put up in dorm rooms at St. Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine. The college feeds us from their cafeteria, and offers their facilities for the conference. The adults have lectures, break-out sessions, and free time scheduled for book reading or naps (gasp!) or walks along the shores of the Sebago lake. The kids on the spectrum get broken up into groups based on age and ability, and make crafts, go swimming in the Olympic size pool, or play on the rock wall or the gym full of bounce houses and games. The siblings of those kids on the spectrum get divvied up in a similar fashion, and they do much of the same things their brothers and sisters do – but with kids who understand. It’s like a giant Sibshop.
It’s Jake’s favorite event of the year.
I had no idea. I knew he enjoyed himself, but I didn’t realize the extent to which he LOVES this weekend. He started talking about it a few weeks ago. He wants to go to the college past Heidi’s house (his aunt) and swim in the pool and eat the food and watch the movie and climb the rock “fing” and play in the gym and eat more food and sleep in the college. He’s been super-excited.
This year, he promised that he’d climb the rock fing. At the top of this rather daunting rock wall is an Easy button. The kind from Staples. He said he was going to climb the fing and push the button and everyone would clap for him. He came. He saw. He got conquered. He made it higher than he ever has, and I’m wicked proud of him. Remember,
Strive for progress, not perfection.
Here’s the clip:
We only got in last night, and the kids have already been swimming a couple of time. Since Jake took over my goggles, I had to film the next little piece with my eyes closed. Thank God I have a Lifeproof case on my iPhone, or the following video wouldn’t be possible.
I’ll be back with more pics and antics, and probably a “lessons learned” post when all is said and done, but I have to get going. My men’s group needs me.