This is an exciting week for Allison. Every morning she will be attending a Friendship Skills Camp run by the Child Development Centre here in town. This no-cost program is exclusively for children with Asperger Syndrome and high-functioning autism, and this week's camp is just for 8- and 9-year-olds. There are only six children attending, and interestingly enough there is one other girl besides Allison. In terms of children with these disorders, boys outnumber girls by about 4 to 1, so to have two girls in such a small group is wonderful.
I dropped Allison off for her first morning at the camp, held at a local school. Tears came to my eyes as I entered the room and saw this small group of sweet, quirky little people, greeting each other in their awkward ways. The other little girl, whose name is Madison, immediately focused on Allison and said "Hi!" to her with a big smile. When the morning was over and the parents came to pick up their kids, Madison went to her mom and excitedly pointed Allison out, saying, "This is Allison! Her name is Allison!"
The camp is specifically geared to helping children develop friendship-making skills and understanding emotions. Today they did activities like role-playing conversations, colouring pictures according to the feelings depicted, and practicing greetings--not to mention plain old fun on the playground. Allison had a great first morning and is very excited about the rest of the week.