While we’ve run a number of parent and teacher training programs through A Global Voice for Autism, at this program, for the first time, we’ve added a “peer buddies” component. In other words, we are bringing kids from the local community to join us in every session so that the children we support can develop their social skills and make friends in the community.
In this morning’s session we had G and R, two young girls from the village, who came to play with Zain and Jaffar. At first, Jaffar was hesitant to enter the center and hid in the courtyard. We brought all the toys out to him and played outside until he felt more comfortable coming inside to play. Zain and Jaffar both loved playing with the building blocks but neither wanted to share the building blocks so we had to work on sharing with both boys and their community buddies.
In the afternoon session, H and B, two other girls from the community joined Oli to complete a math obstacle course, to play with blocks, jump rope and color. Whenever Oli got tired of an activity or went off to do his own thing, the girls were quick to come up with a new activity. They would run over, grab his hand, and say “Come on, Oli. Let’s go do this!”
Oli was smiling and laughing throughout the session. Unlike last time, when he told his mom he was bored and begged to leave, this time, when the session ended, he didn’t want to go. Oli does very well academically, and we are going to focus on his social skills so that he can have any job he wants and achieve his goals in the future. Right now, he says he wants to be a soldier.