Saturday, 4 August 2012

Road Trip to Pittsburgh for AAC Camp

Recipe for One Fun Road Trip
2 adults  (me, and my mom, a.k.a. Grammy)
1 child (a.k.a. Carter)
1 Honda Odyssey, full of gas and packed with all the necessities

1 GPS system
1 itinerary filled with fun activities including, stopping for lunch, shopping at the outlet mall, and visiting the Warhol Museum with some AAC camp friends. 
  1. Place 2 adults and 1 child in Honda Odyssey.
  2. Set GPS for destination: Omni Hotel, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  3. Head toward destination, allowing for 5 hours of driving time and 2-3 hours for various stops along the way (lunch, shopping, etc.).
Seems easy enough, right? I would have thought so, but somewhere along the way the 'recipe for one fun road trip' turned into a recipe for disaster.

Okay, I'm being dramatic. It wasn't quite that bad, but certainly the 'recipe' changed shortly after we set out:

Recipe for One Fun Road Trip

2 adults (still me, and Grammy)

1 child (still Carter) but now a Carter who doesn't want to eat anything and who continues to rub his tummy while making a sad face.
1 Honda Odyssey, slightly less full of gas and still packed with all the necessities

    1 good for nothing GPS system that is only capable of 'searching for GPS signal' after leaving New York State and entering Pennsylvania. (Thankfully we had directions on paper as a back-up. There's no fun in trying to navigate the city of many bridges without some source of directions. This I know from experience).
    1. Substitute 1 stop at the outlet mall with many stops at various unknown locales with some disgustingly filthy rest rooms visited because of the 1 child rubbing his tummy.
    2. After 10 hrs. of being on the road, add:  
    At Warhol: signing lion & saying it w/ talker 
    • 1 short visit to the Warhol Museum
    • several hugs between 1 child and his buddy that he met at camp last year
    • 1 hotel check-in
    • 8 hrs. of mediocre sleep
    3. After 8 hrs. of mediocre sleep. Check on child.

    When we finally arrived at the hotel on Friday night I was optimistic, thinking that if Carter could get a good night's sleep he would be fine the next morning, back to his old self, and able to take part in some camp activities. Instead, after a mediocre night's sleep, he did what I was afraid he was going to do during our car trip the previous day. He threw up. Twice.

    And that's just the way it goes sometimes.

    So, Carter and my mom hung out in the hotel room for most of Saturday. Carter rested and my mom watched the Olympics. And I attended some parent information sessions and hung out with the parents of Carter's buddy that we met last year.

    Thankfully, Carter did not get sick to his stomach again. He made a gradual recovery so that by 2:00 Saturday afternoon he was up and about. We took him to join the other campers for a scavenger hunt and he loved it. 

    These pictures say it all. Even though Carter was sick for part of our trip, it was totally worth the drive.

    Carter & his buddy, Jake taking a break from camp activities.
    Just one more hug, 'kay, Jake?

    I hope to eventually write in more detail about some of the following things I experienced on our trip. For now here's my list of things worth mentioning with some links:

    • Soergel Orchards  This was a place we happened upon during one of our stops. They have a gift store, a country market store with a deli, bakery and all kinds of food and goodies for purchase. There is a garden centre, an education centre, and lots of other things worth checking out.
    Carter loved the mini train...

    ...and the farm animals.
    • I had the pleasure of meeting Chris Klein and his wife, Dawn. Chris is an adult AAC user who is featured in the film, Only God Could Hear me. Check out his video, Building Relationships through the Tools of Communication.
    • I attended Jane Odom's (Prentke Romich Company) parent seminars and learned about 'Building Communication Competence for AAC Device Users,' and about 'Circles of Communication Partners'
    • Diane Nelson (Temple University, Philadelphia) also spoke during a parent seminar, about her e-book called, Daring to Dream: Turning Dreams into Reality The book is, "an experience-based guide to dreaming and developing an action plan to turn that dream into a future reality. Hundreds of individuals with disabilities who have little or no functional speech have thrown off years of oppression by daring to dream and by turning their dreams into realities." I downloaded a copy of the book and I can't wait to get reading. 

    • And finally, I had the pleasure of meeting, and chatting briefly with, Tom Banks, another adult AAC user. Tom travelled from Australia to attend the ISAAC conference (which was held in Pittsburgh right after Carter's camp). I bought his book from him and I'm almost finished reading it. Tom is a young man who hasn't let anything get in the way of achieving his goals. He is truly an inspiration.

    1 comment:

    1. It's great to see Carter smiling at the end of his journey. Too bad he was sick for part of it, I hope it was nothing serious.

      On the lighter side:

      In the spirit of blogging, networking and chainletter fun I am just stopping by to let you know that I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! Please stop by halfpastnormal to claim your well-deserved prize and get more details. Have a fantastic day!
      xo Angela