Friday, July 19, 2013

Special Olympics Minnesota has a summer sports camp

We've always known of the great Special Olympics sports opportunities in the Twin Cities, but until this year we had too many other activities going on to participate. This year though #1 wanted to start playing tennis, and, as it turned out, Special Olympics was a great way for him to start (he won state in his division - gotta brag for him).

Despite his tennis participation we didn't know of  the basketball, tennis, flat football and bowling summer camp that just passed:

Summer Sports Camp | Special Olympics Minnesota

June 12-15, 2013

St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN

Training will be offered in the sports of basketball, bowling, flag football and tennis. The daily sports training will be complimented with afternoon and evening activities, which will include recreational sports (bocce, ultimate frisbee, volleyball, etc.), arts and crafts, bingo, a talent show, movie night, a dance, ALPs night, and many more fun activities.

$325 per camper; includes room and board, meals, facilities/training fees and camp T-shirt. (scholarships available)

We heard about this overnight camp from a MN Special Hockey Eagles teammate. The price must be heavily subsidized, and there are scholarships available.

The 2013 application isn't online any more, but I found a copy. In 2013 the application deadline was June 1.

Next year we're hoping to get several Eagles to attend. 

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Come a long way

As long as I can remember we've done somewhat crazy things with our special needs kids, neurotypical daughter, and our dogs (Molly, then Kateva). We pushed the envelope. Public meltdowns echoing down Main Street, activated contingency plans, parental distress -- we kind of expect that [1]. You can see those expectations in a 2010 post on our first trip to a Nordic (cross country) ski resort. Long before that outing there were bicycle rides, crazy outings, stuff I don't know how I did.

Today was in that vein. We took a lovely bike ride on a hot steamy day. There were challenges - besides the the heat our destination ice cream shop was gone, and our water supplies were inadequate. Worst of all, #2 (Aspergers) always drags in heat, and he didn't "wake up" until he'd done 2/3 of our ride. My patience was tried.

But ... that was it. There really were no big challenges. #2, once he got going, finished easily. #1 has become a strong and very safe bicyclist so he sped ahead, stopping only when he thought we might need his uncanny sense of direction to navigate a tricky area. When we were done #1 remembered a sports bar with an outdoor eating area that, he assured us, Kateva would like [2]. He remembered it because E had turned around in the parking lot one day while lost. #1 remembered the name, the location, the patio and probably much more. He does that sometimes. We had no doubt he was right; this is something he's good at. Better than any of us.

We ate together at the restaurant, which was pleased to have Kateva on the outdoor patio. The food was excellent - though Kateva preferred #3's hamburger and #2's meatball to my walleye. When we got home #1did most of the work putting gear away and getting the van in order -- a job that intimidates E. It never occurred to me to ask him, he just did it. Did it well.

We have come a long way. The very bad times, times that predate this blog, are becoming distant, faded memories. I'm glad of that, I'll keep the good memories.

 - fn -

[1] I expect scornful stares from strangers too, but I don't notice all that many. It's true I don't pay much attention to bystanders, and I'm kind of obtuse, but, even so, it doesn't happen as often as I expected years ago. I think that has something to do with current urban Minnesota culture; most adults know somebody with a special needs child.
[2] She came along too of course. She ran a bit, but on such a hot day she largely rode in a purpose built dog trailer. 

One day autism may be treatable

It's good that some researchers are asking these questions ...

 Progress toward treatments for synaptic defects in autism. Nat Med. 2013 Jun;19(6):685-94

Delorme R, Ey E, Toro R, Leboyer M, Gillberg C, Bourgeron T

... There is currently no cure for ASD; however, results from mouse models indicate that some forms of the disorder could be alleviated even at the adult stage. Genes involved in ASD seem to converge on common pathways altering synaptic homeostasis. We propose, given the clinical heterogeneity of ASD, that specific 'synaptic clinical trials' should be designed and launched with the aim of establishing whether phenotype 'reversals' could also occur in humans....

In other words, we seem to be able to make adult "autistic mice" better, so maybe we can make adult humans "better", hopefully with a different outcome than Flowers for Algernon. To put it mildly, this will be a long and tricky road. 

My #1 is 16, so it's not impossible that sometime in his life, depending on his particular neurobiology, there might be a medication that might, among other things, increase his IQ score.

It won't be in the next 20 years though.