8th Circle of Friends

Friday was our 8th gathering.  The students are all comfortable with the routine.  The passes were all handed out in the morning, including “D”s.  I saw “D” earlier in the morning and he told me he would be coming for lunch in my room and he was excited to play “Uno”.  It sounded a little rehearsed, but he didn’t appear to be apprehensive at all.  He actually appeared a bit eager.  He doesn’t typically show a lot of emotion unless he is having an anxiety attack and then you know for sure.

The adults were scrambling a bit.  It turned out this day was a  particularly over scheduled day  between the counselor , autism specialist, and speech pathologist.  We decided we would be able to cover it with at least one adult present and try to overlap for the game.  This is one reason why circle needs to have 3 adults involved.  Anyone who works in the schools knows one day is never like another and you need back up plans.  We wouldn’t be doing any video taping which would make it easier.

“D” made it off the playground and into the building with out a problem, but then  a glitch started to happen.  Of all the students, “D” was the only one who had brought a cold lunch.  Because the “Circle” students start their lunch early the cold lunch basket hadn’t been brought to the cafeteria yet.  This left “D” trying to figure out where his lunch was. He became separated from the friends going through the lunch line.  To top it off, a well-meaning lunch assistant didn’t understand why he was in early and was trying to direct him back out to the playground.   Thankfully I could see something was  happening when I poked my head out the door and was able to intervene with the assistant.  The counselor was passing through and was able to escort “D” back to get his lunch while I remained behind for the other students who were now entering my room.  Thankfully, “D” is fairly easy-going and was able to handle the confusion, once he knew his lunch was back in the classroom.  In the end all seven students were present.

A fruit fly had managed to follow the students into my room and was buzzing around.  Hey, what’s lunch with out a token fly in a school building.  It did provide for a conversation starter.   The lunch topic evolved from the fruit fly, to being stung by bees, and then injuries.  I think this is a favorite topic that hasn’t changed much for each generation of kids.  I felt there was  good conversation modeling on a conversation that was likely to happen again.  “D” ate his lunch and listened.  He answered direct questions with yes and no answers, but didn’t volunteer.  He seemed to  feel included and was busy eating.  At one point his lunch bag that was sitting on the table fell over and he set it back up.  A student thought he would help by sitting it on a side table that was off to “D”s right.  “D” discreetly returned it back to it’s place in front of him.  I’m sure that was it’s usual lined up position for him.  There it remained.  Eventually the lunches were eaten and “D” volunteered he was very excited to play “Uno”.  This reminded everyone that we still had a game to play, so the table was cleared of trays and the cards were dealt out.  The counselor was able to back up “D” and the game commenced.  We couldn’t have planned the game better.  “D”  grasped the color and number matches early on.  He needed a little help calling the color for a wild card.  He was so engaged he didn’t notice the volume had gone up in the room.   He stayed for the whole session and didn’t talk about leaving even once.  Amazingly the game ended just when the time was up.  And even more amazingly “D” turned out to be the winner.

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