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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Homeschool with Friends

As of this January, Tom's been going to a local tutor two hours a week for some work on math, lanuage comprehension and writing. There are two other kids there at the same time. Both are boys; both are about Tom's age; and both have developmental difficulties. The tutor is lovely, but not particularly experienced in special needs...and while she's a fine teacher, I'm not sure she's a BETTER teacher than I am.

I've been watching to see whether Tom's taking anything away from tutoring that makes a real difference in his education. So far, I can't say that it's been a tremendous learning experience for him - but it's been nice to have that couple of hours free and clear to work... research Tom's next lessons... and generally get out and about. In the back of my mind, though, I've been thinking "this is nice, but probably not worth the money... I guess I'll finish this session and quit."

Today I realized there was more to it.

Though Tom has been in group situations this year - bowling, jazz, and now homeschool gym - he's never really connected with any of those kids. Instead, he's been a sort of bystander to the social experience. I mean - he bowls, he plays clarinet, he swims - and he's not generally unpleasant to the kids around him. He smiles, nods. But that's about it.

Until now.

Today, as we got into the car, Tom said "I like those boys." Then he asked me a question. "Do you think they like me?" Without thinking much about it, I said "Yes, I think they do. They seem to like you fine."

Then I realized - this was another first. Tom has never, ever wondered whether peers liked him or not. At least, he's never voiced the question. In fact, this is the ONLY activity he's doing that seems to help him connect with anyone else! I'm not sure what it is - whether it's the boys, the tutor, or the setting - or just Tom growing up - but something has clicked.

As of today, he may actually have... friends!


Debi said...

Yeah! What a positive day!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I loved your story of Tommy making his first friends. It was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. My ASD son will be 6 in a little over a week and I have wondered if he will ever have friends of his own. He shares friends with his twin brother but "Friends of his own", wow, that would be so neat. You have given me hope for the future. I am browsing your blog in hopes of deciding whether or not to homeschool Zach, my ASD. I already homeschool his twin brother but have been a little intimidated about bringing him home too. He has been doing fairly well this year but some concerns have recently arisen. There is a certain aide that I don't like and I don't like Zach spending too much one-on-one time with. She is curt with the kids and needs to improve her diction which is a big deal for Zach since speech is such an issue. Anyway They have been sending this aide to be his one-on-one in half-day inclusion for the past two weeks after I strongly expressed my feelings about it. My question right now is, "Can I homeschool him?" I'm scared I'll fail him. How can I know what to do to help him learn? Concepts are so hard for him to understand. He still can't write his name, much less comprehend what reading is all about.