Sunday, July 5, 2009
Eons ago, in another life when I taught high-school aged kids, I learned that children with certain learning styles (kinesthetic and tactile) tended to do much better in small group activities (groups of 2 or 3). I notice that this holds true for Gus. In large groups of peers, as when we are hanging out in the neighborhood, he gravitates away from the large number of kids, and it ends up being a situation where we are corralling him more than anything else. Not enjoyable for us or for him.
Yesterday, we skipped the neighborhood scene (at the last minute we were invited to a beach party with the neighbors - probably at least 8-11 kids) and went to my cousin's as planned. There were about 5 other children playing together and wow! what a difference in Gus. He still needed some redirection at times, but it was one of the most enjoyable Independence Days that I can remember with him. He played with his friends. He and MM were having such a good time we were able to stay until well past their bedtime; usually we leave right after dinner before they start getting overwhelmed. We got home around 9:30 - heck, that's almost past my bedtime!
The company clearly made a difference as well. There was a level of relaxation and acceptance that is almost non-existent when all the neighborhood kids are together. It's as if Gus doesn't exist. Who wants to do all the work of engaging this kid who always talks to himself when there are so many other, less strange, playmates around? I'm grateful that they aren't outwardly mean to him, at least most of them aren't most of the time - there are comments now and again. But unless there are small numbers, he is rarely, if ever, part of the crowd.
Gus separated himself from the kids yesterday at times, too, but it was more like he just needed breaks. When he rejoined them, he was accepted with no problem. It was just a lovely, laid back, enjoyable day.
How was your 4th?
*image by Katori Suigo via WikiTravel.