Good news: ESY seems to be OK
Bad news: ESY started two weeks after school is out and my kid can't stand a two week break.
We started ESY this week, and though I was very skeptical about it being appropriate I think my special kid (let's use msk since I don't feel comfortable with names on this blog) is joyful at being in a setting with academic challenges and kids with social and verbal skills that are higher and so draw out more social and verbal activities.
During our two week gap, after school and before ESY, we had placed msk in a camp for kids with autism that qualified as respite care under Maryland's Autism Waiver program. We didn't need a break, but msk needed a daily structure that is impossible for us to provide. It seemed like a setting with people with a lot of training in autism and where msk would be in the middle or high end of verbal/social/behavioral issues would be a relief after nine months of being the only autistic kid in an entire school. That turned out not to be the case. This ESY setting with no other autistic kids (though everyone does have an IEP, so I don't think you could call it an inclusion setting) brings great joy, while the respite camp was merely tolerated. Who would have guessed that worksheets and sitting at a desk would win hands down over crafts and swimming?
I've been noticing that at this level of social development, msk needs to be around happy social situations, but is not able (yet?) to be in the middle of these interactions. There's a need to see, hear and occasionally have peers verbally engage, while still being able to move away to "turn down the volume" on the interaction if it gets too intense.
Here's hoping that I haven't spoken too soon and that we keep msk happy and engaged for the rest of the summer, or at least until ESY ends.
More bad news: ESY ends five weeks before school starts, and if two weeks off in June is bad, 5 weeks off in July/Aug is even worse.
Positive spin: Adding structure to my break from work (by which I mean early and often exercise excursions) helps me lose weight and keeps me from being a self-absorbed slug.