We continue to see progress with Tate. He continues to achieve and notch towards meeting goals. It can be painfully slow, at times. Especially in social situations. Tate still struggles mightily with like-age peers.
Yesterday, though, I saw a glimmer of hope.
We were at our YMCA while Jake was doing his swim lessons. Cole went to play in the childcare room, so Tate and I were hanging out. I let him play some of his Mario game. Then, he initiated a walk. I thought that was a great idea.
We meandered through the Y. I even let him take the “alligator” up to the top floor, and get out in the lobby, where the “alligator” deposits inhabitants out on the opposite side from which they enter. (This dual-sided “alligator” captivates Tate.)
At one point we stopped to play with a foosball table. Instead of stimming with the rods, Tate wanted to try to play. He had seen some older boys playing when we started our walk. So, we played. For about 5 minutes. He tired of the game and decided to use the restroom.
A gaggle of girls spotted us. “Tate!” “Tate!” “Oh, hiiiiiiii, Tate!” Tate got shy, and burrowed his head in my side.
Tate, when someone we know says hi, we should say hi to them.
Tate, keeping his gaze down, raised his hand and whispered a hello. I said hi to his admirers.
When Tate was in the bathroom, I asked the leader of the group if she was in the kindergarten class at his school. She said yes, and that she sees Tate on Tuesdays for gym and library. I thanked her for confirming that Tate knew the girls.
She asked me why he doesn’t like to talk. I had to smile. Tate does like to talk…just grapples with the whole social talk thing. I explained that talking to other people is difficult for Tate. He’s shy, and doesn’t always know the right thing to say. She nodded.
Tate popped out of the boys’ restroom and got a drink. By then, the gaggle was together and again said hi to Tate. He sat on the ground–a combination of anxiety and frustration. I asked him to stand up. He did! I asked if he could say “goodbye”. He was unable to establish eye contact with them, but he said, “Bye.”
As we left, one of the girls wondered outloud as to why Tate doesn’t want to talk. The ringleader stepped up and told her that Tate was shy.
It may not have seemed like much, but Tate did something huge yesterday. He was able to tolerate a social interaction without a meltdown, without shoo’ing away his peers, and without me doing it for him. Score!
Later, I told him I was proud of him for saying hi and goodbye. He beamed that beautiful smile and flashed those playful eyes my way. No wonder the gaggle of girls was so intent upon getting his attention!