Alice adores Jack. She is willing to let him choose what to play and she is remarkably tolerant of his social gaffes and deficits. If he says or does something to bother her, she will let me facilitate a solution. And she doesn’t hold a grudge. I am able to take the hour and a half she is over and teach Jack some practical, natural skills. The things Jack is learning from playing with Alice on Thursdays stay with him longer, are more transferable to real life situations (because they are real life), and are more valuable than what he has walked away with from more structured groups in the past.
When she comes over to play, she seeks Jack out. She will choose to play with him rather than Jack’s brothers, who are generally more engaging and rewarding. When the bunch of kids piles into the basement playroom, Jack will happily sit by himself upstairs playing with Legos. And Alice will sit with him. While Jack tends to ignore other children, he will talk to Alice and answer her questions. If I sit with the two of them and help them play, both Jack and Alice get the feedback, social input, and friendship that they desire.
It can be so difficult for me to find kids who want to come over and play with Jack. And when they do come over, Jack’s highly social brothers will often steal the kid away. It is a magical gift to have found this girl, who is in Jack’s class at school and who lives so close. I can’t imagine what I did so right to have this amazing karmic luck.
However it came about, I will joyfully accept it. Every possible Thursday I will welcome her into my home and parcel out the GoGurt. Then we’ll carry on with our own little social skills group.