Thursday, February 26, 2009

School Clubs

We have hit a snag as far as school clubs go.

Last year, Will would attend this club at his middle school that was all-encompassing. Kids would come, and they would share the things that they like to do, or their interests. One kid might come and give a little lecture about horseback riding, another would talk about video games, another would talk about Guitar Hero. Nice little club, great idea. The trouble is, it was a thinly veiled idea to have somewhere for the special needs kids to go. There were some neurotypical kids that would come to help facilitate this club, but generally, it was just somewhere for the kids who couldn't do anything else to go. Will enjoyed the club, but socially, I felt like he was being lumped with the same old group and wasn't stretching at all. Also, there was a girl in the club who kept hounding him for his phone number, and he was getting tired of that. Nice girl, he just didn't know how to handle the situation.

So this year I suggested that he go to the Tech Ed Club. I thought that would be a good fit, because his friends are in this club. Well, the year is 3/4 over, and there was a Tech Ed multiple schools competition, and Will didn't go. I asked him how he liked Tech Ed, and he said "Oh, it's ok". Not a ringing endorsement. I think that he just isn't that interested. When it came time to do group projects for this competition, Will asked a few guys if he could join their group, and he was turned down. I do feel bad for Will, but he never gets very "into" any of this stuff, and I'm sure the kids felt like he wouldn't offer much help for the projects. It was kind of a lose/lose situation.

Oh well, I tried -- Will tried -- it just doesn't seem to work for him.

Another club opened up, last week, where kids just stay after school and play board games. Sounded like fun! He decided to go. I was hopeful. As I picked him up after school, though, it's the same old group of special needs kids. Now, if he REALLY likes this club, I'm all for him going. But as far as a vehicle to learn social skills, it's not really great for him. We've been through this a lot -- he needs to learn social skills from neurotypical kids. If all the special needs kids continue to be their only friends, then they tend to laugh at the same old stuff that doesn't work with the general population, and it doesn't help them with the general population.

Such a hard thing to try and tweak -- you want your child to have friends and be happy, and yet he needs to stretch a little bit here and there to learn new ways of dealing with the outside world. Social skills education is really painful sometimes.


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