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.
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!