Archive for August, 2010

So Sorry

Image of old time boxersClay is usually a happy-go-lucky kind of guy, so it got our attention when he was visibly upset one day last week with the aide that works with him at home.

The county provides us with a TSS (therapeutic staff support), who works with Clay four or five days each week. One TSS left about a month ago, and our new guy is still getting his feet wet. He is doing a great job, but transitions are tough. He and Clay are still figuring each other out, circling one another like heavyweight boxers in the first round of a championship bout.

The biggest issue came when the TSS showed up 30-minutes earlier than usual. Not a big deal, except I forgot to warn Clay, so he was already caught off guard on a day when he wasn’t feeling 100 percent. Bad start. Read the rest of this entry »


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A Little Nervous

Image of students in front of school

Clay starts high school tomorrow.

We went to a restaurant last night at his request. He and his Mom held the following conversation using Clay’s keyboard while waiting for our meal to arrive:

“You start high school on Monday. What do you think of that?”

“Scared.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Floppy Tails

Image of Clay's sneakersThe last few weeks of camp Clay often came home with thoroughly soaked sneakers and socks. We’re talking socks so wet that you could twist them and squeeze out a cup or two of water. Niagara Falls socks. We kept wondering what was going on. Was he wearing them in the pool? Were there big puddles in the playground? Was he pouring juice in his shoes in case he got thirsty during the heat of the afternoon? After it happened three days in a row, we sent in a note asking his aide.

Turns out one of his favorite activities near the end of each day was feeding the goats and sheep, and filling their water buckets. You have to wonder how much water they actually got.

Knowing how much he took to the animals at camp, we figured he might enjoy a trip to the annual Grange fair near us this past weekend. When my wife asked if he wanted to go, she got a one word response on the keyboard, “Excited.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Not-So-Happy Camper

In retrospect, we shouldn’t have been surprised when the phone rang an hour after Clay got to camp Monday morning.

Yes, he woke up at 4:30 that morning with no intention of going back to sleep, but—sadly—that isn’t all that unusual. Yes, he did seem a tad warm. And, yes, he had been dragging a little over the weekend, typing “stay here” to all our offers to go somewhere, but we didn’t think much of that, either. Camp takes a lot out of him, and he needs the weekend to recover. It was his last week of camp. I had a busy day of work ahead, and my wife had a late meeting that would keep her out until past nine that night. So, we packed him off on the bus as usual.

Then came the “dreaded call.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Happy Camper, Part 2

Clay at Carousel Farm danceLast Friday afternoon, Clay’s camp put on a show on the stage at a local middle school. A musical history of the past 50 years, of course.

Clay’s group danced to “You Ain’t Nothing But a Hound Dog.”

Afterwards, while the crowd surged out of the school headed for vans and cars, his aide (he has a one-on-one aide working with him throughout the day) shared a story with my wife.

We have been sending Clay’s keyboard to camp, and his aide has been using it to communicate, play games and generally interact. (Turns out Clay has a good grasp of Disney trivia, mostly garnered from the endless trailers the company piles on to the beginning of all of its videos.) One day recently the camp director came over to see what all the fuss was about with Clay and his typing. To demonstrate, his aide started with what she thought was a direct and simple question:

“Where do you go to school?”

Clay typed the name of a local bartending school. Read the rest of this entry »

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So Sleepy

Sunday afternoon my wife put the keyboard Clay is using to communicate with us in front of him.

“What do you want to do today?”

Clay typed that he wanted to go to the nearby nature center. A favorite place to visit. Now that he is communicating his wishes after five years of silence, we make a point of acting on them when we can. Off the three of us went, packing a camera and his keyboard in a backpack.

As usual, Clay shot out of the car when I opened the door like a bald man chasing his hat on a windy day. He  raced ahead to a bench near a turtle pond.

“Any thoughts?” my wife asked when we joined him on the bench he found. Read the rest of this entry »

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Happy Camper

During the school year, Clay can been difficult to get going in the morning. Summers are different. Sure, he gets to sleep in an extra hour, but something else has him running to the bus for camp each morning with a smile on his face. Now I know why, thanks to some pictures sent home by his counselor.

Here he is in the seat of honor during a wagon ride.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Talking Turkey

“Is there anything more you want to tell anyone?”

“I want to tell them … ”

That’s when Clay decided to get up from the keyboard he has been using to communicate with us, and stretch his legs.

My wife and I looked at each other. Tell us what? That he is planning to become a pastry chef? That he’s always wanted a pony? That he caught the dog drinking out of the toilet? What could it be that he had to say? Don’t leave us hanging here. Read the rest of this entry »

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