A friend recently sent me an e-mail about Bittersweet Farms. I love knowing a place like this exists. In looking for the YouTube code to embed the video above, I came across a number of programs which beautifully serve kids and adults with special needs. One after another the videos popped up.
Riley has attended an inclusive music day camp the last two summers. She’s done really well, but felt a bit left out because the special needs kids were relegated to mornings only. All the other campers got to go full day. She was adamant she go full day this year, and I knew if I couldn’t get her in full day, she would likely balk at going at all, because she’s “not a baby.”
At every turn, people show up to help.
The wonderful aide who accompanied her the last two years has agreed to go full day with her, but still…the structure of afternoons is completely different. Would she be able to handle it? And what about the hurdle of the policy in place… about special needs kids only going in the morning? There has been a lot of discussion amongst the camp powers that be.
Riley’s music therapist…the one who teaches hip-hop dance, has been working to prepare her. She’s been teaching her various steps in isolation, then throwing them together every which way…to get her used to thinking on her feet and being flexible. To get her used to being unsure, and frustrated, and be able to recover quickly. The whole time, I’ve felt whether or not she gets to go full day, everyone was rooting for her and looking out for her best interest. It would not make sense to send her full day and set her up for failure if she truly wouldn’t do well.
Riley’s other music therapist has also been working on recovering from mistakes,…(acting like it’s nothing and moving along) while making music recordings and videos, letting Riley have all input into the creative process. Riley plays the drums, the piano, lots of other instruments, sings into the microphone, etc. She loves it. She’s doing well.
The camp has made the decision to let Riley go full day this summer. She is the first camper with special needs to do so in their very,very long history.
And I think of all that has gone into this. And I think of the video above. And I think of what goes into parenting and supporting all of the kids with special needs who are here on the planet in droves, and I feel so much love for parents and professionals, friends and neighbors, who open their hearts wider, and make room for our kids.
And I have faith.