My son's school psychologist called to let me know that, while my son is having a great year, he is struggling during lunch. I've only been saying that for three years!
Lunch combines into recess and is pretty unstructured. Imagine about 100 kids all trying to talk louder than the next, rushing to meet their friends at the games and toys. Just try to hear the noise that reverberates off the linoleum and concrete. Picture the cliques of kids huddled around different games, some games you may not know how to play. Now, what many of these kids ignore you sometimes? What if some of these kids have called you names before? Maybe some of them are your friends, but you remember that you just snapped at them in class for being too noisy. What would you do with all of that? I would probably just find a quiet place to be by myself. Not my son though. He's still trying to join the groups and some days he's successful, and yet many days he's not. Today was a "not" day and unfortunately, filled with some tears.
As I talked with the psychologist, she made it clear that she believes that it's too noisy and she wanted to brain storm with me to find the best resolution for my son that didn't require isolating him. A quiet room to eat with a few invited guests would probably be great for some kids, but for my son, he would feel too cut off.
She told me about a book that she had entitled "Can I tell you about Asperger Syndrome? A guide for friends and family" by Jude Welton and offered to allow me to borrow it. The book is from the point of view of boy named Adam who explains Asperger's Syndrome (AS) from his point of view. As we read it all together tonight as a family, I was happy to see both my kids identifying with the boy in the book. No need for my son to feel alone in this after all.
I believe the psychologist would like us to begin carefully sharing his diagnosis with his friends. This book would be a great way to show AS to other classmates. I didn't commit to allowing that disclosure. I'm not sure if we're ready to share that information with other kids. I admit, it could lead to support, but let's face it, kids can be cruel too. I couldn't possibly make that decision for my son. We would all have to talk about that together and consider my son's input overall.
I believe he connected to aspects of the book and as he went to be with the book on his mind, he wore a smile. Many nights he has a hard time turning off his mind and feeling settled. Tonight, he went right to bed, was upbeat and loving, and he really smiled the whole time he was getting in bed and covering up. Seeing him consider himself as not alone in this and as the AS expert in our home (being an expert must feel pretty good... I'm no expert on anything really), is inspiring and certainly smile worthy. Anytime he smiles, I want to smile back ten fold! He'll be okay.... this team will get him there and lunch will be smooth sailing with smiles galore!