Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Update From the Wolf Den

Almost two weeks have passed since our oldest child made his journey Outside. Wolf called us five days after his arrival to say that he has passed "Orientation" status (something all kids must complete to assure theirs and others' safety). Although five days spent in scrubs and flip-flops was a bit on the "wierd" side, according to him, Wolf nonetheless adapted fairly rapidly to life at a Residential School. He is back in his own clothes and has begun to decorate his room, thanks to mom.

His day is rigidly laden with routine, a valuable and necessary component to any program for Asperger children. Seven days a week, the students, who range in age from 12-17, wake up around 6:30 a.m., shower (thank god), eat, and begin one of the four daily group therapy education sessions designed to tackle their daily challenges head on. School also is factored in, and students attend year-round, although less during the summer months.

One day per week Wolf meets individually with a therapist, as well as a once a week meeting with Yukon and I over the telephone. The structure of the therapy surrounds Wolf with 1) no escape from the reality that yes, indeed, he has a need to learn certain skills and mechanisms unique to other kids, and 2) no escape from therapy in general.

Many have asked how long Wolf will attend School. Most students are there for a full 12 months from the time of their admission; some longer, some shorter. The premise is based upon the child's ability to meet the goals and plans of care that are reviewed every 30 days. At this point, we are unable to say how long Wolf will attend; it all rests on his slim shoulders, but he, and we, are confident he will emerge a stronger, more mature young man.

For those who have asked about sending Wolf a letter or postcard; please do. He loves to receive mail and one of his goals is to improve his communication, and letter/postcard writing is a great vehicle to this. If I have not contacted you with an address, please send all Wolf correspondence to our home address, and we will see that it gets to him. Please, as delicious as it may be, send no food items. The school has vending machines, etc. for the kids to use when they earn the money.

Wolf says "hello" to everyone, and wants you all to know he "likes it here." A different kid's voice comes over the line when I answer the phone; a stronger, more confident one. A good-sounding voice.

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