Paperwork Out The Wazoo

The Monster’s school year ends a week from Friday.  After a week off (and believe you me, I’m not at all sure why there’s a week off), he’ll start two different morning-only camps – one that runs Monday-Wednesday-Friday for six weeks, and one that’s Tuesday-Thursday for eight.

For the last two years, we’ve sent him to the JCC summer camp.  The first year was to give him a good introduction to pre-school – he was going to be transitioning to their program there and at the time, we didn’t really have an inkling of what was going on – and the second was to keep things ‘constant’ between the two years of pre-school.  He needs more than just ‘play in the pool and sun’ time, though, so this year’s going to mark a real change for him.

The three day a week program is a specialty camp run by Towson University’s Speech and Language center, specifically for kids with communications issues like our son.  (The Monster is semi-verbal – he has a huge vocabulary, but most of that is taken up with nouns, and what language he uses is mostly riffs on scripted phrases.)  This program provides speech/language therapy as well as the occupational therapy he needs, in something that we understand is akin to a classroom environment, so we’re hoping it provides some of the continuity that he’s lacking without the ESY, while the wife is arranging for other therapy covered by our insurance.  It’s only two and a half hours a day, on those three days.  I think at the moment, I’m more hopeful that the program prevents regression more than hoping for any drastic breakthrough or improvement.

The two day a week program is the more familiar Noah’s Ark program at the JCC.  The wife was very persuasive with the staff there to allow us to put him into a session for the summer, since they weren’t going to offer one for his ‘age’ (we already held him back half-a-year to try to foster his social skills with children around his developmental level).  This will give him some interaction with typically developing children, as well as some much-needed pool and gym time.  The other benefit of enrolling him in the JCC as well is that it makes for a good transition for August, when he starts his IEP and moves into the five-day-per-week public school system.

The downside is the massive amount of paperwork that everyone needs.  The Towson program needed copies of all of his medical reports and his IEP (and all that together runs to the neighborhood of a hundred pages), while both programs need the vaccination records, medical updates from his pediatrician, and the standard ‘what is my child good at’ form.  This last one is always a stumbling block for us – trying to come up with how to express what he’s really good at while trying to be as gentle (and accurate) as possible on his weaknesses without giving too much information…

It’s a lot of paperwork, though, and I think that’s what’s kept us procrastinating on finishing the last forms. One wonders, between all the kids with ASDs in a similar situation to us, how many trees we’re killing with having to fill out the same thing fifty times.  We finally did the sane thing today and decided to just make a photocopy of the ‘strengths and weaknesses’ form so that we can stop filling it out by hand each time. Now all we need to do is convince all the doctors to just email us reports instead of giving us print-outs so we can just make a ZIP file to fling to providers…

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