Wolf has had a number of trials already this school year, the most challenging for him (and for us) being the management of social skills.
Common for kids with learning disabilities, social skills, something most of us took for granted as we grew up, become another subject to be learned like Math and English. And almost as tough.
Wolf's previous middle school, an urban mix of cultures and attitudes, was a struggle to find a niche of friends to hang out with. It became very clear that for him, friends are not easily found nor kept. School became a dark place.
This year, after transitioning to a very small Catholic school, Wolf has begun to reach out to kids. His teachers and the administration surround him with lots of love and firm boundaries for what is appropriate behavior. He tries. Oh, how he tries, to have friends.
But there remains the problem of other kids. As a mother, I have discovered that while there are many areas of my child's life I can control, finding and nurturing friendships is one area I simply must stay out of. I cannot make kids be nice to my son. Nor can I demand that the school do so, either. To be perfectly clear and fair to the school; there is no bullying, per se. No open taunting, pushing, shoving, stalking, etc. There is simply nothing. No phone calls to hang out, no trips to the movies or to the skate park. Nothing.
I remember a boy in my class at a Catholic school in Bellevue, WA. An overweight, homely kid, we teased and taunted him mercilessly. He tried and tried to be friends with us, offering cool stickers and bragging about trips to Hawaii. But we didn't budge. The class fed off of each other and made his life miserable.
Maybe God is bringing that back to me.