Hello! This blog is about my daughter Hailey (currently 12 years old) and her experiences living with auditory processing disorder. Auditory Processing Disorder is Hailey's primary issue, however she has also been given the labels Sensory Processing Disorder, Dyslexia, Visual Processing Disorder, Mixed Expressive Receptive Language Disorder and Phonology Disorder at various points in her life.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Camp Update: Bravely Being Herself Despite Being Shunned by the "Popular Girls"

I posted a couple posts back about our daughter Hailey going to camp with auditory processing disorder.  She was extremely excited to go to camp and looked forward to making new friends and having fun with a group of girls her age.

Well, I had to pick her up early three days into camp.  She called me crying about the miserable time she was having and despite the counselors trying to tell me to just leave her there and she'd "probably" end up having fun "eventually", I drove over and got her.  What can I say, I'm an attachment parent and trust is a highly valued commodity in our home.  (Later Hailey told me how the other girls were telling her that no parents ever come to pick their kids up early.  Hailey told them, "My mom will."  I'm really, really glad that I did.)

So to make a longish story shortish, Brooke, the girl I had left Hailey talking to at camp that first day, had decided to befriend another girl at camp and left Hailey in the dust.  Once she found the other girl, she wouldn't even speak to Hailey anymore.  So Hailey did her best to try to make other friends.  Unfortunately, Hailey said she would be doing well talking with a girl and then the girl would go find someone else.

Typical to preteen girls, there was a "popular group" formed in the cabin and you guessed it, Hailey was left out.  According to Hailey, Brooke was the perceived leader of the group and she made rules about who could be in and who could not.  The first rule was that no girls with cell phones could be in the group. (The cabin of 20 girls had only 3 that brought cell phones.  Hailey had a cell phone.)

Some of the girls made fun at the way Hailey mispoke some words and when Hailey had to go to the bathroom, no one would be her buddy.  They weren't allowed to go alone.  When Hailey asked the counselor, she was told to just ask another girl and so eventually Hailey found a group going and just snuck in with them. (My smart girl was certainly resourceful.)

Apparently, Hailey also told the girls about homeschooling and having two moms and eating a gluten-free diet.    My first thought was how I might as well have put a "kick me" sign on her back, but these are the facts to her life and I am really proud that she isn't afraid to share them.

So with all that was happening socially to Hailey, one would venture to guess that she shriveled up like a victim.  Well, I am happy to say that she did not!  In fact, when it came time to sing karaoke, Hailey volunteered and got up in front of everyone to sing.  (Now that is what I call brave!)  Hailey kept trying to talk to girls and befriend them.  She did her best to enjoy the activities: horseback riding being her favorite.  But, eventually, it did wear on her.

When her counselors neglected to tell her about the bike tour she signed up for and she missed it, Hailey finally decided that she had enough.  She was the only one in her cabin that had paid the extra money and signed up for the tour and so, apparently, the counselors just left it off their radar.  Hailey loves to ride bikes and she was especially looking forward to this part of camp.  It was just too much disappointment.

After coming home and destressing for a bit, Hailey took out a paper plate that had words written all over it.  It was an activity where the girls were told to write something nice about each girl on the plate that was passed around for them.  Hailey had the expected "your pretty" and "I like your hair" type comments, but she also had two that really stuck out to me.  "I like how she isn't scared to be herself." and "youd stand for who you are".  Hailey and I discussed how special and wonderful these comments are.  I think it really made her feel good to realize that she may not have been allowed in the "popular group" and some girls may have made fun of her for her auditory processing and speech problems, but she had something remarkably better: she was brave, she was proud, and she was herself.  Not only that, but at least two other girls took notice and perhaps they will feel safe enough some day to be theirselves - no matter what the "popular girls" say.

-originally written July 22, 2011 in my personal blog

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