As I mentioned in previous posts, I have been working very hard with the school to put more supports in place for Weston since he had a very rough transition into the middle school.
I wanted to share some good news with my readers about a new program we created which could benefit many other students who also struggle with hyperactivity, anxiety and poor social skills.
I asked the school if it would be possible to pair Weston with an older high school boy. This boy could help Weston do his homework, assist him in class and teach him those precious social skills. I figured since high school students now need to perform community service in order to graduate, this might be something an older student might enjoy. Thankfully for me (and Weston) the school agreed and provided Weston with a mentor named Matt.
The other children in Weston's class, see him spending time with a very "cool" high school student, and suddenly Weston's "coolness" is also increased. This is something even more valuable to Weston than ABC's and 123's and will no doubt give him the skills he will use for the rest of his life.
We have documented this mentor program on Weston's IEP, so that it will continue for as long as he needs it. It is my hope that when Weston is a senior, he will be able to give back to another 6th grade boy who may need him too.
I encourage any parent with a child with special needs to discuss this option with their school. It has had an amazing effect on my son.
Is there anything more important that we can teach to our children than the importance of helping others?
p.s. Since this program has worked so well for Weston, I have spoken with my Mom's assisted living facility to see if perhaps they can also establish a program with the local school to have some students come spend some time at the Village. They could play games and talk with many of the more social dementia patients. Anxiety that accompanies dementia seems to subside when these patients spend time with others. It could be a good way for high school student's to earn some community service. Once again, it is surprising to me, how much caring for children is a lot like caring for an elderly parent!