Circle of Friends 5th session

This was the big day.  D was going to join the group.   The “Friends were eager to have him come.  A lot of preparation had already taken place.  During last weeks session the “Friends” video taped a welcoming message and demonstrated the activity we would do after eating lunch.  D practiced the conversational scaffolding activity during his speech sessions  so that he was very  familiar  with it.  The video tape was burned on to a CD so it could be played on the computer.  D watched it several times before the big day.

On the big day, the “Friends”  talked to him about joining them for lunch in the “Speech” room which was a room he was already familiar with.  In this school, students go to recess first and then come in for lunch.  The “Friends” including D were given a pass so that they could come in a few minutes earlier to go through the lunch line first. I saw D for his regular speech session in the morning and he told me he was coming for lunch.  He seemed to be looking forward to it.

D came in right on schedule and was quite agreeable to it all.  He  came right in with his lunch and sat right down.  He had a big grin on his face.  This was quite a switch from last year when he would not have made it past the door way.   If he saw a room with a group of students he  would tell us he wanted to go home and  would  stand ready for escape.  We were lucky if we could get him to sit with the group, and he would stand at the fringe, watching..

While they were eating lunch we watched the video.  The “Friends hadn’t seen it since  it was finished.  Someone brought up how different we sound when we  hear ourselves on a tape.  They decided that was a lot of fun and they  would like to do more taping.  When D was asked if he wanted to be on tape he said, “No thanks”, which is his usual response to things he is unsure about.  We’ll probably have to hold off with that for a bit.

The group then cleared the table for the conversation game and the papers were handed out.  During the  game , the friends started a topic about books they were reading.  They were careful about keeping him included.  They maybe were a little too zealous with questions directed at him,  but he held up well.  The adults helped with re-framing of questions.  They didn’t realize that why and how questions would be hard for him to answer.  He revealed he liked Dr. Seuss books and Harry Potter.  This led to a discussion about what was scary on Harry Potter movies.  It seems more people are creeped out by spiders then snakes.  It was also pointed out how unsafe Harry’s school was.

I was pleased with the outcome.  D stayed for the full 25 minutes before indicating he wanted to leave.  The group had gotten a bit loud at that point.  We convinced him to stay for the final 5 minutes and he did.    I over heard  a “Friend” say this was the best part of school for him, which made me feel this program not only a benefit for the targeted student, but also the other students involved.  Next week we will meet with just the ‘Friends” to debrief and see if there are any concerns.

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