Everyone who works with children should have blogs. I can guarantee that those who are around children on a daily basis have told stories to their friends and family that begin with the words, “you’re not going to believe this one…”
One of my responsibilities is to run social skills groups with kids who for one reason or another are unable to navigate social interactions. My best stories come out of these groups. Every Monday afternoon I meet with four students, all with their own needs, all resembling different characters from the Big Bang Theory (which is also on Monday nights…coincidence? I think not). The main objective of the group is to get them to interact appropriately with each other. Sounds simple, right? The topic of choice is usually to discuss what they did over the weekend since the group is on a Monday-piece of cake. One child decides to go first, but gets distracted immediately due to an itchy nose. Another child who seems to have a germ phobia then starts to panic because the child speaking is wiping and itching his nose with his bare hand. The panicking child then starts to make the throat clearing noise he makes when he is anxious which in turn, makes the child with generalized anxiety start to pick and pull at his hair. The fourth child seems completely unaware that a conversation is even taking place and just gazes blankly out the window. Still sound simple? The child who was itching his nose was asked to get a tissue which he used to roll into a ball and shred to pieces while the germ conscious child tries to sneeze into his elbow, but being awkward and not coordinated, misses and sneezes on the child with the tissue. This prompts the other group members to seize the “monkey-see, monkey-do” moment and join in on the coughing and sneezing (I shouldn’t ever wonder why I get sick). The funny thing is when the parents wonder why their child isn’t making more progress socially and why they don’t have more friends. Do we really need to have that conversation?!
Hopefully these four kiddos will turn out like the characters in the Big Bang Theory and will be somewhat successful adults. Sure, they’ll have their quirks and need to sit in certain seats and eat certain foods on specific nights, but at least they will be semi-functional. Maybe then their parents will thank me for all of my hard work…just maybe!