A short plug for the company that runs summer camps for both Karen and Matan. Ponti’s is absolutely the best in terms of staff professionalism and fun for the kids. Even Karen, who wanted all kinds of specialty summer camps that were much more expensive, is very happy with her summer camp. For both children, continuity and being with excellent staff is more important than anything else. Not everyone “gets” Karen, and knowing she’s with staff who know her and understand how to deal with her occasional mood swings is more important to me than anything else. Their style especially suites her since they are flexible in terms of which activities the child can choose from at any given time. For example, instead of being in a single group and always doing the same activity as her group, she can select from several different activities and choose where she will spend her time. The freedom to choose which kids to be with and which activity is important to her.
Karen’s also shown initiative both at camp and on her own. In addition to selling stuff to children on the playground, today she began going to the playground with paint, glue and glitter, and setting up a table for younger children to come and paint. Today she had two children who sat and painted under her direction and both sets of parents paid Karen! She wasn’t even asking for payment, she just wanted to set up an activity for the younger kids. Matan even sat and painted for a few minutes. One small girl spent almost an hour with paint and glitter under Karen’s attention. Her mom fell in love with my daughter 🙂
At camp she’s also busy organizing activities of her own. This week she started giving massages to other kids and even to the counselors. The other day she took a small blanket with her in the morning. When I picked her up in the afternoon, she was giving a massage and there was a line of children waiting their turn. They were bummed that I was there to take her away before it was their turn. I promised them she would do it again. I felt a little like her promoter….
Matan’s also having a great time with summer camp. He spends his mornings in special ed summer camp, where he and 7 other boys splash around in a large portable pool, play in mud and sand, eat lots of watermelon and generally have fun. He’s enjoying it immensely. His afternoons continue with the same after school program he’s been in for most of the year. He loves socializing with the “regular” kids, and enjoys the activities that include zoology, where they bring a different animal to visit the group once a week. Today he got to hold a snake and wrapped it around him. Last week I think it was a large toad.
After about 10 sessions of one on one hydrotherapy, Matan is finally swimming! This was already more than we had hoped for. My initial goal was just to get him to a point where he didn’t lock up whenever we went into the big pool. He always wanted to go in, but once he started down the steps, he would lock up unless DH was there to hold him. Last year he didn’t even like spending much time in the baby pool. He was afraid of the water. Matan didn’t even trust me in the water. I think he could feel that I wasn’t as strong as DH. Now he just jumps into the big pool without even warning us. He’s still wearing inflatable arm bands, even in water he can stand in, but he’s begun swimming without them for short periods, so long as DH is within a hand reach. I’ve asked his therapist to stress safety, and he’s finally stopped running near the pool. That’s how he broke his arm last summer.
While the hydro therapist is helping him feel secure in the water, she’s also added counting and color games aimed at improving his cognitive abilities. This is why hydrotherapy is so much better than private swim lessons, the emphasis is on development, both in the water, and then using the enjoyment of playing in water to help overcome other blocks. Overall, very happy with the hydrotherapy. Best part, it’s covered by our health plan!