We walked home from school today nine strong. Nine little girls. Three were unexpected, last minute joiners. I wasn't about to say no. I called their moms from the playground to get permission, and off we tromped on home.
Inside, the snacks were ready. Fresh fruit, pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, strawberries. Mild cheddar cheese and crackers. HT picked up the food for me this morning. He feared it was too much. It wasn't.
We did a short little breathing exercise, ridding our bodies of "noise" in all its forms.
With Riley's permission I talked briefly about Asperger's. About how it's sometimes like the brakes on Riley's emotions don't work as well as they do for most. She isn't a cry baby. She feels things bigger, and it's harder for her to recover from upsets than it is for typical kids.
We talked about sarcasm, and humor and how sometimes she doesn't understand those things. Lots of kids with Asperger's don't. Some of the typicals said they don't understand sarcasm either.
We talked about non-verbal communication, and how Riley needs the words, because she doesn't always take in the affirmative nods and other body language.
We talked about how hard she has worked to be where she is today, and what a great job she does, and what a terrific kid she is, and how she would never ever EVER hurt anyone's feelings on purpose, and how just as her emotions are strong, her caring is strong. She cares deeply about people, and animals, etc.
She is a good friend.
We passed around a bag, and each girl pulled out a slip with an emotion on it, and then told the group about a time they felt that emotion. It was a good exercise. The girls really shared. They were attentive to each other.
Riley's arm tic, the one that happens when she is stoked, happy, excited, was going full throttle, so I whispered in her ear and asked for permission to talk about it. She said yes. I know at least one other little girl in the group has had tics in the past(her mom told me). I hope it helped her feel better about them. Riley was so brave and open. I couldn't be more proud of her.
I asked the group if they might be people Riley could go to, if a social situation presented itself that confused her. People she could trust to ask about what it might mean. They all nodded vigorously.
After the formal stuff they all piled into Riley's room to play Littlest Pet Shops.
Two of the little girls do not want to wait 'til their scheduled turns to play with Riley again. One of them has an idea about us making Friendship Bread, where everyone takes some of the dough something or other...she is excited to do this with the group next time.
I told her it sounds like a fabulous idea.
Riley, there in the tie-dye, had fun.
She says the best part was playing in her room with the girls. Let's hope this is the start of lots of that.