Friday, May 6, 2011

Could I conquer a kindergartner?

Throughout the school year, I have been able to volunteer in Luke's classroom every other week.  Although, with Brayden's schedule it has felt more like once a month.

I do enjoy being in the classroom.  Not only to see Luke in action, but to be around the adorable kindergartners.  They are still so little...little voices, little imaginations, etc.  I just love to listen and watch.

Yesterday, Brayden joined me for my volunteering time.  I wheeled Brayden into the classroom.  Luke was thrilled his was there.  The teacher did a great job explaining Brayden to a few curious kids.  Then I parked myself and Brayden at a table ready to do a center.  The first group came to the table. 

One child was extremely curious about Brayden.  This child touched Brayden, then touched him again and again.  I tried to tell the child not to touch him, partly because work needed to be done and because Brayden did not like it.  The touching turned into poking.  Then the poking turned into copying.  The child was copying Brayden's noises (like little dinosaur/lion roars) but then the copying turned into a making-fun-of copying.  Then just making fun of Brayden.  I asked that the copying stop, again because work needed to be done and making fun of someone needed to stop. 

My gentle suggestions to get back to work and leave Brayden alone seemed to be ignored.  Then it was time to switch groups.  Child was gone, Brayden was much happier as was I.

I have absolutely no problem with curiosity about Brayden (from adults or children).  Children are much quicker to accept some one new and a bit different.  Answering questions and talking to them about Brayden rarely bothers me...explaining him to others, not a problem.  Curiosity from children is usually the best because they ask the questions adults are too reserved to ask.

But what to do when it turns into something hurtful?


Shannon said...

I struggle with this same question.

Vivianne said...

I hope I don't seem like a horrible adult here, but it would seem to me that the child might need to be reminded that Brayden is a real person, not just a 'thing'? Maybe a firm explanation that their behaviour is hurtful and mean is warranted (I don't think kids get hints at this age, so something quite direct could be ideal). And if it still continues, I might actually say something like:

"What if I put you in this chair instead of Brayden, hm?"

I know it might imply that you've purposely made Brayden that way, but it also might help the other child find some empathy by seeing themselves in Brayden's place?

I suppose if it got really bad, you could remove them from the group to another activity.

Sorry if this is not helpful and if I obviously don't know what I'm talking about, please forgive me! .. I just try to imagine what it would be like if someone was mean to my (Autistic) son, or my nephew who is in a very similar situation to Brayden.

The VW's said...

I had a similiar situation with Gavin this weekend. We were at our 8 year old's baseball game. A little girl, who was probably 4, was at first just interested in Gavin. She kept staring at him and then started to play with the links that I have hanging from his stroller. I was smiling at her and all was well, but then she said, "Those are baby toys, you shouldn't be playing with them." I didn't say anything, because it was harmless, and she was correct in her thinking. But, then all of a sudden she got a mean look on her face and she kicked his stroller and his foot. So, I had to tell her that she needed to walk away from us if she was going to be mean!

I don't know about you, but this Momma bear was feeling quite angry that someone was being mean to my defenseless little boy! I know that all children can be mean, but when they are mean to a child like Brayden and really upsets me!


Wherever HE Leads We'll Go said...

I have been in a similar situation. An older boy at Emily's school said something mean as I was wheeling her out one day. I was so caught off guard that I didn't say anything (the first thought that popped into my mind wasn't a nice one and I thought it better to remain silent). It really is difficult to know the best way to handle situations like this. Sorry I don't have words of wisdom for you, just letting you know you are not alone.

Amy said...

Will was very excited the day Brayden came in. Some kids need "sensitivity training"....some more than others!!!