A year ago, I decided why we were trying to figure out what and how to help Yin not to participate in co-ops or any kid groups. Chuck and I made this decision because It was hard to keep her any classes when we did not know ourselves how to teach her. Today after a year we finally signed up again for a Co-op. Being a social person and being trapped in my house homeschooling without really any other socialization besides Sunday, family, and occasional play date (which are rare in the home school world where I am ) starting a Co-op again for Yang and I was like letting the wild animals run free. It felt like a sugar rush and I am still high on all the interaction I had with other grownups who do the same thing I do. Not sure if anyone one picked up on my motor mouth and excitement but knowing me I am sure some did and my social skills were way lacking!
There are so many days I look at my little Yin and think, ” Wow we are so much alike!” Like Yin I am ADHD/ADD and my mind is always going a mile a minute. I am not the best with social skills, which through Yin I am learning so much, I tend to interrupt conversations without realizing it, I sometimes interject in conversations where maybe I was not really wanted into. I never know when a conversation is over, or if I have been talking too long. I have a hard time listening to all the details of conversations even if I want to and eye contact has always been hard for me. I’ve never known how to work on these skills until I started taking Yin to social Therapy. I also have some truly wonderful friends who understand me and know I do this and take the time to gracefully point it out. This allows me to see when I have been slacking on my focus.
The difference though between Yin and I is, I can see the expressions of others faces. I know that I either have over stayed my welcome or was not supposed to chime in. Now, I don’t know what you do once you’ve done that, but to try to wiggle your way out and try never to get yourself in that situation again. I have found apologizing is not the way to go for most people might be thinking ” Who does she think she is?” but when you bring it to their attention, feel even more awkward than if you let it go :). Yin however, does not see it at all. She is oblivious to what is going on and has no idea she has lost her crowd or that those around her do not seem to connect with what she is talking about. It is hard as a parent watching your child struggle. It kills me to see the disconnection and the inability Yin has to see it. It is not the other kids fault. It is natural to notice what is different but knowing does not make it any easier to watch.
Yin loves to be with people, but not always the same way as you or I would like to be with people. She goes into a room and right off the bat she is initiating conversation and many times she is loud, and personal space is invaded. Then once she has had enough stimulation ,which does not take long, she will begin to edge herself toward a wall or a corner where she can get away. She will pay attention to a teacher or the other kids by listening , this is her only way of processing the world , and running her finger across a wall, rolling on the floor and keeping one ear toward the class. In her mind if her eyes don’t see everyone then she is not seen either. She will answer every question and will take in every bit of the class and anyone’s conversation that she might have picked up. So, by the end of classes today , 2 hrs worth, she was spent. I was so proud of how she did. I was able to keep her in a chair through both classes right until the end and when she began to melt down before we left and kids were waiting on parents, she used her therapy tools to keep it together. Yin likes to hide in things when she is done. This is not a good coping skill, so the therapist has her put her head on the table close her eyes and use her ears. This keeps Yin in her seat in class and lets her hide in her way. If I can’t see them then they can’t see me. After everyone had left it was our day to clean so I gave her tasks to feel helpful and we got done and had a treat to celebrate.
At the end of the class Yang and I were supper charged. We had contact with the outside world and were pumped to have gotten out and could not wait to get more! We are looking forward to Monday’s. Yin on the other hand is not so sure. At the end she looked like a domesticated animal craving for the safety of her cage.. We had put her in a place that was not her element and she wanted her quiet home. I can’t imagine how it must feel to be her. She loves to be social. Seeks it out in all ways possible. Desires close friends and wants to play with other kids her age. SHe is lonely and truly craves companionship. But, when put in a place where those relationships grow and happen her mind does not allow her to succeed. She becomes like a tame animal stuck in the wild and is frightened, overwhelmed, and wants to go home. I pray that someday she will make that one true friend that will accept her for how she is, and I thank God for places like our Co-op where she can test out her social skills in a safe environment , in short periods of time, and wonderful teachers who are patient and loving!