I’ve been meaning to write for the longest time, but busy with one thing or another, so now I have to back track… school started last week and I wanna write up about that as well, but first let me sum up our summer and then write up about school and therapy and anything else.
Summer was kinda busy, at the beginning of the summer he had his piano recital, horse show, and 2 summer camps. I’ve already written about all those except his second camp, the YMCA summer day camp.
We did 1 month of Y camp and 2 weeks of swimming, and he had a lot of fun, he doesn’t say much about his day but he was happy to go every morning and was happy when I picked him up, it was from 8:45 to 4 every week day and it helped him sleep easily at night. He started the day with swim lessons which I think have helped him be more confident in the water and a better swimmer. There was arts and crafts, sports, nature and because of a lot of bad rainy days there were also indoor activities and movies. Hoping to do it again next year but maybe add an extra session or 2 to fill up his summer, he gets bored and restless during the long days. One day in the car after camp he asked me if he could be a camp counselor when he grew up so I take it that he had fun even if he didn’t tell me about his days and why he was having fun. He got really tan and also got several bug bites that he scratched at incessantly, the was the downside, and I couldn’t spray him something before he went in the morning because he started the day with swimming and it would have been washed off.
After 4 weeks of camp we did 2 weeks of swimming. It was 4 times a week every morning so he got the most benefit, also the instructor he had was better than the previous one. He was the oldest and most advanced in his class, I could see the improvement in his confidence and swimming abilities, he kept his head under water longer, and was able to swim a little on his front and on float on his back. At the end of the 2 week session the instructor filled out the report in detail and not just quickly marking off the form. She suggested he repeat Pike 2 because he was unable to swim the required distance but other than that he was ready for the next class. Not sure yet when we should restart classes or move on to something else.
Bilal had a great time this year at camp Moementum. It ran for 2 weeks, and he missed only two days, one due to fever and another due to a dentist appointment that wouldn’t have been easy to reschedule as it was set 7 months ago. They did a lot of the same activities as last year, sports, hikes, water guns, splash pads, and arts and crafts. He got a couple t-shirts and a photo video DVD. Last year the camp ran from 9-12 also but she had after camp hours as well for an extra fee, this year everyone left precisely at 12, and it was a little low key, last year Siemens came for a science expo and representatives from the Atlanta Braves baseball team came as well. This year there wasn’t anything special like that. Bilal still had a blast, the second week there were two boys (brothers) close to his age and they quickly took to each other and the teachers called them the Three Musketeers, he talked about them a lot and they looked really cute together in the pics.
This week he’s off, no camp but he has his weekly therapy sessions (minus speech) then next week he starts 2 sessions of YMCA camp creek camp. Its a full day camp with a large number of kids, counselors and activities, it sure looks like fun and I hope he enjoys it as well.
Its that time of year again. School has less than 2 months and then a 3 month long summer break before Bilal starts Kindergarten in August. As we’re transitioning all his classes to a typical setting we considered the YMCA summer camp. It’s sports, outdoors, nature walks and they provide swimming also a great bonus is that its close and from 9-4 everyday, its a tad more expensive than we’d like but that’s the average price around here. They offer sessions all through the summer from the very first week till the week right before school starts and you can pick and choose which sessions to do. So we’ve got him booked for mid-June till mid-July for now. Last year he went to Camp Moementum for the month of June and he loved it, I thought about it but dismissed it because we want a more typical environment. So a couple of weeks ago there was a summer camp expo for children with special needs, the only reason I went was to say hi to his swim instructors and thank them again for everything so there we ran into Maureen the camp momentum instructor, she said she hadn’t heard from me and why haven’t I replied to her email I told her our circumstances and she said that her camp was a mix both special needs and typical children attended and Bilal would fit right in, she gave me the application and we thought it through and decided to do the 2 weeks, it being cheaper and something Bilal knows and remembers. More sports, hikes, splash pads, arts and crafts and the like. It could also be a bit of practice before he does the YMCA camp. He’ll still have his therapies, music lessons and recital, horse back riding lessons, and a boy scout camp with his dad for a weekend. We might also look into Arabic or Quran lessons, so it will be busy and hopefully no boredom or regressions. Even though I’m not looking forward to the heat of the summer cant wait for the fun of it all.
Last week was Bilal’s second annual physical therapy re-evaluation. I was looking forward to the re-evaluation and all of the re-evaluations for this year, his therapists are all saying what a good job he’s doing and how much progress he’s achieved and maybe looking at discharging him and so on. She said he did really well and has met all his goals except 2, those dealing with upper body strength and throwing/catching a ball. He’s achieved those goals relating to core strength, balance and coordination. He will no longer require hippo-therapy and will move all therapy to the gym, which I’ve always felt to be more beneficial to Bilal, on the horse I just feel he’s sitting there, yes I know he’s working his core and balance and all that but mainly he’s just sitting there, in the gym he’ll do a lot of target throwing and catching, and monkey bars and things to strengthen his upper body muscles. Because we’ve left the barn and moved to the gym we’re unable to find consistent weekly slots and finding available ones as they pop up or when someone cancels, so she sent us a home program where Bilal should try crawling in different ways, do the wheelbarrow, crab walk and etc, and boy do they really use your upper arms, as out of shape as I am those stung but he had a lot of fun and its good to do them with his younger brother as well.
Also this week I’ve joined the local YMCA, its mainly for me and getting fit and losing weight, but they offer so many things for the boys, rock wall climbing, swimming, gymnastics, karate, soccer, t-ball, flag football, basketball, volley ball, and little things as family movie night, parents day out, parents night out and all at really affordable prices. Looking forward to starting all that, have a wellness coach appointment on Tuesday and the fitness will begin for all of us God willing.
During the last month of school I was getting nervous about the summer, long days with nothing to keep him busy. From 7am to 9pm with only an hour or two of private therapy isn’t enough. It was always the case when Bilal gets bored to act up, throw tantrums or the very least start pacing about. At the end of March there was a camp expo for children with special needs that I went to check out, the camps were either for older children, too far or too expensive. I couldn’t figure out what to do and thought the camp being held by his horse back riding instructor the best option even though it was too far to go to on a daily basis. Then during the last week of school his teacher sent an email about a camp but it was for children 5-12 years old and Bilal wouldn’t turn 5 until the end of September, I emailed the instructor telling her that Bilal wouldn’t turn 5 until the end of September but that he was high functioning, potty trained and able to communicate well and if she would please consider him. She agreed and I sent in the paperwork. It was a sports camp and the instructor Maureen Wales is a special ed physical ed teacher, the camp is called Camp Moementum and it was only $100 a week taking place at a local park on their adapted fields. I signed up for the first 2 weeks of June, but sadly Bilal woke up the first day of camp with a fever and wasnt better the next day I was so bummed that with a 10 day camp he already missed 2 days of, but as soon as he got better we went and he loved it, they played on the fields, the playground, went on hikes, they had a bounce house and a water slide and go carts and basketball, laps, arts and crafts. The had a cook out one day and somehow they got him eating hot dogs something he just wouldnt eat at home. There were several teenage volunteers and she had them working and looking after each child. At the end of the 2 weeks she said she’ll extend it for another 2 weeks, perfect ! I signed up for those, and he really enjoyed it, he won at BINGO a couple times and got little toys, he got a beach ball, and t-shirt, 2 caps. Siemens came one day with a whole science expo for the kids, I cant wait till next year for him to go again.
So thanks to Camp Moementun we were able to fill up 1 of the 3 months of summer vacation. On friday I’ll look into music therapy, adapted piano lessons or something for Bilal to work on, and we’re still doing his private speech, OT and PT sessions, adapted aquatics and horse back riding lessons, and on yeah we’ve also started on the myofunctional therapy. So he’s not bored, the tantrums are a thing of the past alhamdullah and he rarely paces about. He also watches Disney Junior or PBS Kids, plays on the laptop, iPad or XBox, and all this time off school he’s playing a lot with his brother and he’s making amazing progress mashaAllah alhamdullah. I’ll write a progress post in August after he’s been in therapy for a whole year.