A lot of First Day’s are happening all over the country over the next four weeks and I have already started hearing the stories.
The “I had a rough first day”s.
The “no one talked to me”s.
The “I sat alone at lunch”es.
As a mom, hearing these stories are heart-breaking! As a special needs parent – it’s even worse. If children are excluding typical children like this, what are they doing with our special needs kids? We have done what we can, introduced them in the classroom, and then sent them off, alone, in the hopes that they won’t be alone very long.
With our special needs children they often don’t understand how to respond to other kids, and don’t know how to fit in. Socially, children with autism just don’t get the social cues. Never mind those like my Dylan who developmentally just don’t understand.
And, for even typical children, fitting in can be so hard, worse when you think you are different or you are shy.
Please explain to your kids that we are all different, some differences are just more noticeable. Whether it be something physical or just an inability to respond appropriately or know what to say.
Encourage them to look beyond what they first see. Introduce themselves, ask those sitting alone to come play with the group. Or even encourage your child to leave the group to go sit with them. Teach them to not be embarrassed to say hi to a child who may not hear, react or respond to them.
I loved walking into Dylan school last year and seeing kids say “hi” to Dylan as she walked along, excited by all the action and not really paying attention to one single person. But you never know, sometimes when they say hi, she looks at them and there is just… this connection… so I think they continue to say hi because in the times the connection does happen, it really is so special. I am grateful for these children’s parents who taught them to keep trying.
Let’s keep that ball rolling, if we can all be like these parents and teach all of our children to child to say hi to the new or different kid. Teach them to befriend the children with special needs! If your child is shy, let them know that the best way to find friends is to reach out and be a friend. Let them know that no one should have to sit alone at lunch time. Or feel alone, at any time.
I hope not too many of us have to hear “I sat alone today” in the next couple of weeks and I would like to hear more stories about how welcoming children have been.
Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net