As much as I'd like to march into his classroom and give the little bullies a taste of their own medicine I am managing to restrain myself. I will be meeting with his teacher again and the school psychologist will join us. Now, bear in mind, this woman (the psychologist) and I do not have a merry little history. She was one of the lovely people way back when we were bidding Early Intervention adieuand asking for entrance to the delights of the public school system, who came to the idiotic conclusion that Sam needed NO services whatsoever. He was on the brink of turning 3 and could barely talk. The throw up bucket had a place of honor on the kitchen table because he threw up at nearly every meal. He writhed in agony over sock seams and blue jeans and turtlenecks made him throw up. He had next to no muscle tone in his lower face and upper body. He drooled like a Saint Bernard. HOWEVER, he kicked butt on the cognitive portions of the testing. Needless to say I fought like a tiger, making oh so many friends in the process, in order for Sam to recieve the needed services. This is the same woman who in November of this past year sat in on a meeting with myself and Sam's teacher because of her concerns with Sam's inappropriate affectionate behavior. You know what he did? He hugged her. She has bus duty and puts him on his bus EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. She said he did not know her name, yet he was giving her a hug and that worried her. She felt he should be more circumspect in his affections. I told her it was disappointing that she did not understand that to a 7 year old, someone he sees every day, someone who is in a caring role, becomes someone they know. (And shame on her for not telling the little children she's responsible for who the heck she is!!!) I can't wait for our next little rendevous with this woman. But I have to play the game. So we will be forging ahead with a four pronged plan.
First we will resurrect the role playing. When he was very little we role played all kinds of social scenarios to help him figure out what to say and how to behave. We will do this again both to help him approach children and join in the play as well as how to handle less pleasant interactions. I'm hoping this time around it will be easier because now he can actually talk.
Second his teacher will write in a communication journal each day to note positive and negative social interactions. Knowledge is power and will help facilitate conversations about what who he's playing with and what's working as well as what's not. The journal will also help fuel our little role playing dramatics.
Third I will be asking his teacher to work some more of the social curriculum into the school day. The school teaches the "I Care" curriculum and I feel the class may be in need of some more direct teaching of the I Care rules or at the very least some reminders of what those rules are.
Fourth we will have him invite someone over to play once a week or so. Sam functions best when he's able to make connections with someone one on one. He gets very distracted and somewhat confused when in groups. I'm hoping if we foster healthy friendships in a safe environment with just one person at a time he'll gain more confidence and be able to carry it over into his classroom, the ball field and the bus.
A part of me wants to wrap Sam back up in my arms and keep him safe from the taunts, but I can't. No matter what interventions he recieves and what therapy he's involved in, the truth of the matter is, he will always be "different." At some point in time he will leave me and the safety of our home and I need for him to be prepared to live in this world. It can be a cruel place but it is also a wonderful place and I want Sam to experience all this world has to offer. I want him to know how to deal with the good, the bad and the ugly. I want him to make friends...friends who love him.
I feel a little better. I have a plan. I know things will change as we go along but I'm not just standing still, fuming and crying. We're moving ahead and we are moving on. Sam deserves nothing less. Besides...I have to share Sam with the world. He's too amazing to keep all to myself.