The autism specialist came into the classroom to explain my son’s differences to his peers. We’re hoping they will support him as he practices the social skills that he is learning in the resource room three times per week. The classroom teacher makes special accommodation for him to help him to be more successful, and the special education teacher and the speech and language pathologist consult with his teacher upon request.
In spite of all of these efforts, it begins to feels as if we are living from crisis to crisis with a child who wants so badly to fit it, but is unable to. He continually finds himself the victim of bullying, and other well-intentioned children are afraid to play with him for fear they will experience this level of rejection too.
Disciplinary action is followed by more peer training, an instructional assistant on the playground, a play plan for my son before every break time, and more social skills training.
Still, it seems that we continue to have communication breakdown after communication breakdown. Emails between parents, the special education teacher, the school principal and the classroom teacher go back at forth as we all work tirelessly to make inclusion work for my son.
The principal is a seasoned veteran, and he is skeptical that we can create a truly safe social environment. Hundreds of social interactions every day: in the classroom, in the hall, in the bathroom, on the playground…it is impossible to be there for every one!
Recently, the special education teacher created a circle of friends for my son that seems to be helping with the loneliness and is creating a more kind social climate. Six of his peers have agreed to support him by partnering with him in class and including him in their play on the playground. I express my skepticism that it will continue to work, and the principal agrees with me.