The Good 'Ole Summertime: Nightmare for Some Chicago Parents

My 10 year old adopted son, Ethan, who has special needs, completed his 5th year at the Chicago Park District summer camp program.  We only received "the phone call" once this summer;   this is when the camp supervisor calls us before the camp day is over to pick Ethan up early because he did something inappropriate.  We live in fear of the phone ringing during the camp day.

The CPD needs programs for kids like mine.  They don't have any.   There is a therapeutic program which is populated by teenagers and young adults with developmental delays and physical disabilities.  This is not an appropriate setting for a healthy 10 year old boy with above average intelligence who has behavior/impulse control problems.  Since we cannot afford the $4,000 private special needs camps where you never receive "the phone call", we are stuck with the general CPD summer camp.

Here is the run down of our past 5 summers:                                                               

2007  3rd day of camp, Ethan causes all buses to be delayed returning to camp on a field trip and he is banned from subsequent field trips.  Meet with camp director to beg that they don't expel him from camp.

2008  Ethan sticks other kids with thorns, inciting others to follow him.  Suspended for 3 days.  1st day back, he bites a kid in the pool who was holding him under water.  Suspended for another week.  In desperation, send him to a much more expensive camp for remainder of the summer.

2009  Got him a 1 on 1 aide who follows him around all day.  Aide doesn't show for field trip but they let him go anyway.  1st aide fired, replaced by 2nd aide.  Not a bad summer, as summers go.

2010 Arrive at camp to find police have arrested his 1 on 1 aide for chocking a child who was throwing dodge balls at Ethan.  Aide wasn't paying attention until Ethan punched the perpetrator.  Aide is fired.  Don't ask.

2011 Park Supervisor reassures me there will be no "phone calls" because she is such a good supervisor.  She calls early on day 3.  Want to put a gun to my head, but refrain.

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