Jiggy says he wants to go to school. He has said that, occasionally, ever since he left but he has also said quite a lot of other things….! Just because it makes ME nervous isn’t a good enough reason to attach too much importance to it I guess but I am and so it matters. I don’t think he does actually want to go to school, he knows as well as I do that the challenge of sitting in a group that isn’t about him for longer than four or five minutes (which is real progress by the way) would overwhelm him fairly early on. However I do think he wants more friends. We have no neighbours, Home ed group only meet once a fortnight, Forest school didn’t work out as we had hoped and his week is, although pretty wide-ranging and undoubtedly useful, mostly a solitary affair. That said we play in the park after school most days, he has managed a street dance class once a week for two or three weeks now without any issue, he has siblings close in age (with whom he plays pretty well all things considered) and we take any opportunity that arises to mix with other kids.
But then again, that doesn’t always work out well either. We went to France a couple of weeks ago on an off season Eurocamp bargain. Jiggy practically stalked any child that looked like a possible mate and it wasn’t long before I saw a couple of them hiding when he came looking. I was sad to see it but I completely understand how they felt. Even Jig seemed to notice that they actually didn’t want to play and although confused by it he wasn’t unduly upset. Instead he set off happily for the organised ‘fun’ session. There were about eight in the group and it went well enough, I gather, for the first part but then there was lining up, group games, a few rules and boundaries and it disintegrated. You know things haven’t gone well when you come to collect your child and the cheery camp fun leader won’t meet your eye. I guess she was annoyed that I hadn’t warned her. Sometimes though I like to give Jig the benefit of the doubt and a clean sheet to start with (especially when we are far away and never going to have to see them again…) and, to be honest, sometimes I just get fed up explaining.
In a perfect world we would find a small group that met every day that did the sort of wonderful practical things that Peter and Jig do, that could take the time to really know him, that could stretch and support him at the same time and that could offer him the sense of community that he is lacking. Lets just hope.