May 28, 2012 0 Share

Memorable Weekend


Chalkboard saying "Independent" with flag above.
iStockphoto

I hope everyone is having an enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend. It certainly has been a memorable one for me. Cameron has been a wealth of developmental surprises lately. We have historically struggled mightily to inspire Cameron to find weekend activities beyond his computer. Yesterday, however, Cameron left the house before noon and didn't return until nearly 6:00 p.m. He filled his day in much the way a typical 17-year-old might. 

Cameron had planned to go to a nearby Mexican restaurant for lunch. When he arrived, the restaurant was closed due to a power outage. But this did not deter Cameron in his pursuit of the perfect lunch. He hopped on the Metro towards his ultimate destination, Dave & Buster’s, stopping for lunch at T.G.I. Friday's along the way. The T.G.I. Fridays, while at the same Metro stop as Dave & Buster’s, was still a few blocks away. Cameron had not been to this particular location before, and yes, he even remembered to tip his waiter. After lunch, it was off to the mall, in search of a Hallmark store. Cameron wanted to get a jump on his Father's Day shopping. Once that was out of the way, it was finally time for Cameron's first solo trip to Dave & Buster’s. He dutifully brought his receipt home and asked about a fee listed there. He also dutifully went straight to his computer to record his transactions in the checkbook register spreadsheet I created for him. 

At last testing, Cameron's full scale IQ came in at 68. That number has never really meant much to me, especially when it comes to reflecting Cameron's abilities. I think of Cameron's itinerary from yesterday as a far better indicator of Cameron's capabilities than any test results or IEP milestones. Cameron planned his day completely independently. He was exhausted when he arrived home, as it was quite warm yesterday, and there was a lot of walking involved. But the sense of accomplishment that oozed from him was surely worth the effort. 

So how could it get better? Well, for starters, it would be great if he had a friend with whom he could go on theses adventures. I struggle with helping him find those friendship opportunities. Many of his classmates aren't quite up to the independent day on the town that Cameron thrives on. I know my son very well, and while I have an idea of the type of person that would NOT be a good friend candidate for him, I'm afraid identifying the type of person that IS a good candidate completely stumps me. As such, I've hired a social mentor of sorts to spend some time with Cameron this summer. This is a young person who worked with Cameron at the Smithsonian camp last summer, and seemed to completely get Cameron after just 2 short weeks. Maybe a little social prodding from someone other than mom will yield better results. 

Another improvement on yesterday would be if Cameron made better eating choices. Working in a pizza restaurant has not been kind to Cameron's waist line. While he's picked up on some of my incessant nagging about nutrition, he tends to pick the easy things to adhere to, such as fresh fruit every day. Fresh vegetables, however, tend to be something he overlooks whenever he can get away with it. But when it comes down to it, I'll grant him the empty, abundant calories of fried chicken fingers, fries, and a Coke, in exchange for the pleasure in knowing he's growing into a quite capable young man.