For the past 3 years Jay has had one main friend; Noah. They were 2 out of 6 children who began kindergarten in the same self-contained (Autistic) class. In that program, the same teacher (and an aide) brings the students from kindergarten to 3rd grade. It allows the teachers to really develop a strong relationship with each student. They were a close-knit group of 8. Well, for kindergarten and 1st grade they were a close-knit group.
When 1st grade ended, it was decided that both Jay and Noah would benefit from spending time in a mainstream class. I was really grateful that Jay had his friend with him for that transition. It went as smoothly as could be expected and both boys were doing well. The one down-side, if it could be considered that, was that I don’t think they made much effort to mingle with the other students in the new class. Each had the other and they were happy with that.
Noah and his family moved out of state last month.
Jay was sad and I was sad for him.
I was also worried about what his social life would look like at school now.
For last weeks homework assignment Jay was to make holiday cards for some of his classmates. When I read it, my heart dropped. I imagined him not having anyone he wanted to make a card for – And worse – Him not receiving any in return.
I kept my fears to myself and he set out to make the cards.
The cards were awesome. He carefully drew a different picture on each. A very festive Christmas tree for one, Santa in a sleigh (complete with reindeer) for another and so on.
On the inside of each he wrote:
To [Child’s Name]
Thank you for being my friend.
I asked Jay if the kids he made the cards for were his friends and he said yes. I asked him if he was happy in his class and he said yes; adding that he loves his teacher.
I’m not really sure if he’s gotten close to any one in particular but it does seem as though he’s assimilating nicely into his class and that the other children have been welcoming to him and understanding of him. They all greet him warmly in the morning and say cheerful goodbyes when we leave in the evening. If we see any of his classmates at the playground they invite him to play with them and he sometimes obliges.
I was worried when we decided to put him into the mainstream class and I was worried when I heard that his best bud was leaving but it seems that he’s getting along nicely both socially and (based on his latest report card) academically.