As many of you know, My son Aaron is five. He goes to Early Special Ed at a local grade school half days, a couple of days a week. He is not quite autistic, but has some autistic type tendencies towards obsessive fixations, language, etc.
He loves his school. Since we've changed sitters to one that is not in the school's bus area I've been dropping him off at school on my way to work. Once we get into the building it's hard to hold him back from running to his classroom.
He is always greeted warmly by his teacher(s), and pretty much forgets I exist once he has put his things in his name labeled cubby and settled in to color his name on his name pad at his ever moving place at a table. I think they do this so the kids will learn to recognize and find their own names. I can tell he's happy to be there and enthused to start what ever the day will be.
When he sees other kids from his class on his way to the room he will invariably yell "there's my Friend!", run up to them & try to engage them in a conversation. They almost as invariably shy away from him, turning in towards the parent's legs, saying nothing in response. I've seen this reaction to him at other, outside of school gatherings like the Pumpkin patch train ride we took him on last fall. He doesn't seem to notice the lack of response in kind.
It breaks my heart to see. I wonder how long he can go on not noticing that his "Friends" don't talk to him. I hope and pray that the responses I see are only outside of class, and tell myself that this is a "special ed" class and maybe it says more about them than him. But like I say, I've seen this before outside of school, with kids who are supposedly "normal". Next year he will start Kindergarten, still with special ed help.
I remember my own kindergarten and grade school experience with learning to socialize. When I was in kindergarten I was pretty much golden. Almost all the other kids treated me like a friend. I was engaged three times(though the student teacher did turn me down saying she was just too old for me, I could do better)
Then I went to grade school. Everything turned to crap. The guys liked to beat me up, the girls thought I was creepy.
It got some better, by about the fourth or fifth grade. I had a few freinds, I was considered "smart" by some teachers, some kids. That was mostly not bad. Looking back though, I did retain the Oddness or Different-ness factor that I had come into during first grade, & never did really feel normal again. Eventually, being normal was not even something I aspired to. It just didn't seem relevant. I 've since heard that normal is what you think people are who you don't really know. That's supposed to be a joke, but I think it true to some degree.
Still, I want a better school time childhood for Aaron. I know fitting in is not everything. At the same time, not fitting in is certainly not always a good thing either.
I would guess that this is a pretty normal parental concern - "but, what if he(Norbert) don't like it in Romania, what if the other dragons are mean to 'im?" - Hagrid - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
I hope and pray for my son, for all of our sons & daughters(and our baby dragons).
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to take Aaron's monkey- head foam hat/visor off of him and carry him up to bed.
He's fallen asleep watching Transformers (again).