Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

What do you mean, “There’s no RECESS in junior high?”

My 12 year old autistic son and I went to the meeting for junior high matriculation and while I asked all the questions of the administrative staff, he sat there as still and as quiet as I have ever seen him.  At meeting's end, the kind teacher with the soft eyes looked at him and said, "Well, young man — do you have any questions for us?"  Without batting an eye he blurted out, "Yeah.  What time is recess?"  We had covered every topic under the middle school sun, from the new concept of changing clothes for the physical education classes he'd told me earlier that he didn't want to do, to the strange idea of rotating classes and teachers for different subjects and his one and only question was when he'd be getting a break from all of the above.

The teacher's mouth tightened and her eyes crinkled at the corners, making her much less of the storybook character she'd been for the last hour and she replied, "There is no such thing as recess in junior high.  You'll have brunch and lunch breaks only."  The normally rigid boy who stims and rocks his way through most new situations slumped in his chair and looked up at me for help and reassurance.

"I'm sorry, buddy.  This is junior high.  They do things a little differently here."  Shaking my head and patting his hand I was reminded of the time my daughter, the neurologically typical one (as "normal" folks have been labeled in this realm) discovered a rather unsavory secret about the Tooth Fairy [no spoilers here people, you'll have to Wikipedia it.  I won't be held responsible.]

Placing his head on the desk in front of him, I heard my son squeak, "No recess?  No playground?  No equipment?  What DO they do here?!"

Talk.  Mostly they talk in junior high.  Boys, girls, teachers, aides and custodial crew.  They stand around for much of their minimally alloted free time and they talk.  A lot.  But I don't know how to explain this to the boy whose number one deficit, thanks to his brain's wild wiring, is the inability to communicate or process language efficiently.  He's like the world's only Berlitz student voted most unlikely to ever graduate.  He's been stuck in our world, listening to us babble on in our native language for the last 12 years and he still doesn't get it.

I am going to have to spend some serious time helping my son learn to live without recess, through social stories and a whole lot of talking.  Funny enough, it's the one thing that HASN'T changed for me since junior high, but I sure could handle the concept of bringing good old-fashioned recess back.

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