Summer Camp for My Son and Yours: New Beginning for Teens and Adults with Autism
By Angela Day
”Unteachable.” That’s the label our school district put on my son, Mason Day, when he was three years old. They anchored him behind a desk and had him do the same task over and over…then wondered why, halfway through the year, he stopped doing it correctly.
Possibly because he was bored?
That never occurred to the school. When he was four years old, I started teaching him at home using Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), a teaching style targeted to children with autism. Within three months he went from completely non-verbal to a vocabulary of 123 words. By age seven he was promoted, with supports, to a regular classroom.
Speed forward a decade. Mason is in 11th grade and is 18 years old. He has worked at Hobby Lobby, the Lutheran Church, and TJ Max. He also volunteers at the Recycling Plant, one of the best unpaid helpers they’ve had. Mason works hard, stays on task, and strives for perfection, but recycling is not really satisfying to him. He feels unchallenged because he’s not working in his field of interest.