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Dragonfly Dreamtime - June 19, 2012 - St. Croix Courier

posted Aug 24, 2012, 6:59 PM by Dragonfly Centre for Autism Inc

Dragonfly Dreamtime

For June 19 St Croix Courier



Did you know that dragonflies are not born with wings? They are born in a larvae or nymph state and eventually go through a partial metamorphosis process during which they grow their wings.  You often see dragonflies near bodies of water like rivers and lakes because they lay their eggs on or near the water. When the eggs hatch they spend the first few years in the water as nymphs. Young dragonfly nymphs have a special appendage on their head that they use as a spear to catch small fish.  How amazing is that! They are predatory insects from birth.


Well our little camper dragonflies don’t have spears on their heads but most of them do like to spend time near the water at our St. Andrews Summer Camp.  Days are filled with music and art therapy, lots of games, beach walks, pool play and even a boat trip to Navy Island.  Over the eight years that we have operated the Dragonfly camp we have seen amazing transformations in our nymph campers as they develop their wings through new adventures improving their motor skills and ability to interact with teachers and friends.  One of the most important features of our camp sessions is the opportunity for kids with autism to just “fit in” and have fun being and doing kid type summer stuff.


Sometimes people don’t realize how challenging just being a kid can be if you can’t talk to tell adults what you need or like.  It might mean that you have to scream or bang your head or bite your brother to get the response you need.  For reasons yet undetermined, the neurological disorder of autism frequently impairs communication skills on either or both the physical and emotional levels.  It can result in a complete inability to speak other than with basic noises at one end of the spectrum to those who can speak and write with great eloquence but are unable to understand or express human emotions at the other end of the spectrum.  Think about that for a few minutes.  You have no words in your head, your voice just makes grunts or squeaks, your motor skills and hand coordination is pretty weak but you are hungry or your sweater is picky and bugging you or the light is hurting your eyes.  How do you get the message across to someone that you need help?  What do you do?  That’s right – you do whatever your voice and body will let you do to try to get the help you need.  Maybe squeaking and screaming has brought you help on other occasions so you try that again.  Maybe banging your hand on the wall or stamping your feet got help.  What if you are just happy and want to share that feeling – now what do you do?


These are just a few of the long term, every day challenges that people with autism can face.  It is referred to as a spectrum because the range of behaviours and symptoms is so wide.  Every person diagnosed with autism has his or her own unique combination of communication challenges. Many therapies and teaching techniques that have been developed to greatly improve the abilities of individuals with autism, giving them new methods and skills to interact with the world they live in but aren’t quite prepared for.  Dragonfly staff utilizes these positive therapies to bring out the best in our clients and our happy little campers prove that the program works!


For more camp information call Mary at 465-8900.  If we can secure some funding, it is our goal to have mini camp sessions for adults this summer too.  Can you help?