Interesting day, today... I started out with a meeting regarding son 6 and his IEP. For the uninitiated, IEP is Individualized Education Plan (which, by it's very definition, should be, you know...individual.).
I realize that the school and our special education co-op would like very much to have son 6 participate in social skills group. My issue is not whether or not there is benefit, but rather whether it fits the "A" in FAPE (Free, Appropriate, Public, Education) to which every child is entitled. Yes, he may have some issues socially, in fact, he DOES have some issues socially. However, in recognizing that, we must also say that he has made progress insofar as he is no longer hitting fellow students to get them to move, but is rather politely requesting that they move, counting to four, and THEN hitting them. LOL, I know. But the goal I hold for each of my kids is that they make progress, not that they get perfect. "Progress, Not Perfection" is our mantra. If he has made progress, and continues to make progress, then I'm not really sure why the social skills group is necessary. It adds another step he doesn't need to contend with - generalization. If his interactions are successfully facilitated, he won't have to generalize to another environment - he's learned in the environment where he needs the skill!
We're back to the place we left off last spring... "Mom, do I have to go to school? I hate, despise, loathe, and abominate school!" "It wouldn't be so bad if they allowed a little autonomy, and let me do my work my way, but I don't even have any friends to help me. Why? Mom, I'm the weird kid, remember?" My heart bleeds. Why, oh why can't we get the point? NORMALIZATION. Teacher, accept him. Para, support him. Kids will follow suit. More is caught than taught, and if you make him stand out, he will be the one left out. Help him grow, give him his tools... trust him - he knows when he needs his bear, and when he needs his mirror, and when to listen to the CD and breathe like Darth Vader. TRUST HIM. Let him be himself - you might even like him.