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Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How It Went

This is the game we played in my group.


You may remember that I mentioned I was joining an Adult Lifeskills group that takes place at a counseling center and is run by a therapist. You may also remember that the therapist mentioned that most of the people in the group were younger than me, and I was wondering exactly how much younger.

Well, apparently, they take the group's "18 and over" policy very literally. As in, the group members seem to have just turned 18, like, yesterday. Some are even still in high school! 

So now I have another decision. Do I stay in the group, or not? 

The group is meant for adults of all ages, not specifically very young adults. It just happens that the people who seem to find out about the group are those who were part of the center's group for teenagers... they "graduate" to this group when they turn 18. 

I know I'm overly sensitive about the age part, because I look very young and seem to act very young sometimes too. It doesn't bother me horribly to be mistaken for a teenager. What bothers me is when I'm forced to say how old I am, and people go, "WHAT? You're how old? Are you serious? Oh my God! Oh, wow! I had no idea!" It is embarrassing, hurts my feelings, and makes me feel like a freak. I'm also very sensitive about being treated like a child a lot, because of my disability.

But the truth is, I am in the same boat as many of these  18-year-olds. I need help with life skills, overcoming my shyness, and moving forward in my life. 

I try to think of it like this: If I signed up for a college class, and saw that most of the other students were about 18, would I drop the class? Or would I stay in order to get the same knowledge and experience that they are getting?

Yesterday we played Apples To Apples, as an ice-breaker since there were also several other new people in the group that week. Apples To Apples! I love that game! But I rarely have anyone to play it with. 

In other news, today was my first day at my long-term subbing job. I was supposed to be going on a field trip with them to a karate class, so I dressed in loose pants and a long-sleeved T-shirt. But at the last minute they switched me to a different class, because they felt that the sub that came for that class wouldn't be able to deal with the kids with special needs. I was disappointed at first, but I actually had a really good time in the class I was sent to! It was a first grade special ed class with only about six students in it. One of them was a little girl with autism who is almost completely nonverbal (she can sort of say a few words like "hi," "Bye," "Yes," "No," etc) and often has a difficult time... she starts crying loudly a lot in class and is unable to say why. I've met her a few times when I've helped out in that class for just an hour at a time, on my "floater" rotations. Last time I was there, she randomly came and stood in front of me, and I swung her gently back and forth. A lot of kids with autism love that because of the deep pressure and rocking feeling. This time, she seemed to remember me, and kept coming to hold my hand or to give me hugs, all day long. She was very sweet. I kind of wish I could be in that room again. 

Anyways, we'll see what happens, with the group, with subbing, and with everything. Right? Right. 



3 comments :

  1. I totally think you should stay in the group. I attend a Love Circle meeting about intuitive awareness every Saturday and there are all ages there. I love the diversity though! You hear different opinions and views on life and everything in between. To me, it's just giving you the ability to acquire THAT MUCH MORE knowledge. Stick with it and you'll be loving the group in no time!

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  2. Yes! It sounds to me like you have so much to offer both groups - subbing and skills group - and much to benefit from as well. THis was a really meaningful post for me. My son is in a skills group right now where everyone is younger than him, but it's the only one around close to his age and he's choosing to stay. I am not finding the skills to relate to the parents while we wait, anyway, BUT! We are trying...Love,

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  3. Stay in the group! You may be making connections that will help you for years to come, and 2, 3, 4 years or more becomes a barely noticeable age difference with time. And it sounds like the Apples/Apples game was such a happy ice breaker for you!

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