Be ready. I am ranting.
Social skills: the personal skills needed for successful social communication and interaction.
If social and communication deficits are the core challenges of Autism, it would make logical sense to me that while my girl is at school for 7.5 hours per day she would be offered countless opportunities to work on the core challenges of her disability, per her IEP. Logical. Not social opportunities like sitting in class listening to the teacher or working on Civics, but opportunities to be social. And successful social communication.
Lunchtime for my girl in the school setting has always been the most challenging time of her day. Its all social. Its peers. And for someone with social deficits, it is a nightmare. The complexities of eating and socializing combined into a fury of normal lunchroom chaos can gaurantee me daily texts.
This really isn’t a new rant. In third grade I was pressing her case manager about providing social support at lunch. I got the usual “ya-ya she is fine.” Fine, meaning when I showed up she was sitting on the far side field playing with a plastic bag. Her classmates told me that she throws her lunch away everyday and goes to the field to find plastic bags.
Aside from the two and a half years in middle school where her angel of a case manager ‘got it’, this has been a battle I have faced for all of her school years. We are now heading into the sophomore year. For those faithful readers, you may recall late last spring when I was reminded by her case manager that it is not the schools/teachers job to “force relationships”. Now silly me, but I thought providing social support to address the core challenges of her disability was their job. And what a better way than with the a few of the 1400 high school students that are available. Just a few. I am not expecting dates to homecoming and a social calendar filled with activities. I just want her to have access to develop successful social communication.
She has one friend. One. One out of 1400 students in her school that eats lunch with her. And this school year it seems that the school team placed them in different lunch hours.
I guess that might be “forcing relationships”.