It’s Abram’s first day at a summer basketball camp and I’m fighting back tears, rocking, biting my finger. The boys have just gathered in a circle and Abram, has been scolded twice to be quiet and hold the ball still by a very no nonsense coach. It’s clear by his mannerisms he is different from the other boys and some are staring. It’s hard not to pull him out and leave. My anguish gets worse as the boys start their basketball drills. Abram, hustles to the next spot but has no awareness of the directions given. He just wants to shoot the ball. He doesn’t talk with the other campers and they are wary of him as well. My emotions are like a roller coaster as he goes from station to station. Will he be yelled at again? This is so hard to watch. At the end of the session I recognize a dad that I know. He tells me he will speak with the coaches and let them know that Abram, is on the autism spectrum. This fills me with relief and yet saddens me. Abram, loves basketball and enjoys being part of something. Should we continue with the camp?
We do and the coaches make some modifications for Abram. During the scrimmage games Abram, is completely unaware and spins around on the floor with his arms outstretched doing the helicopter, while the other boys play around him. A coach takes him to the side and shoots baskets with him at another hoop. He plays better with adults. I don’t think he knows how to interact with kids his own age and a typical setting.
The last day of camp is here and I’m filled with relief and sadness. We gather for the award ceremony and I’m being polite, going through the motions. Another opportunity my child will be left out of. It makes me want to cry. However, to our surprise Abram is given one of three awards for “Best Hustle” He is pumped! Jumping up and down. So proud of himself for winning a trophy. To him, basketball camp has been the best week ever!
Maybe Abram is OK with not having friends and doesn’t care…….But I do, so am I sad for Abram? Or am I sad for myself? Is this another typical dream that is not going to happen in the lifespan of my child’s childhood?