There have been a number of gains since the last time I have seen Matt. For example, Matt is getting along better with other children. He now is frequently seen right in a group of children and wants to be there. He is good at turn taking, cooperating on the slide; those sort of things are no problem. One of his difficulties in dealing with his peer groups is that there are many things that he can’t do motorically. He will try them briefly, then stop or refuse to try. He does not know how to positively get others attention to get them to play with him so he will tease or pester. Matt has gained the ability of engaging with fantasy play and this ability needs to be built on. He can distinguish real from pretend guns…He has also been learning some nice feeling labeling. He could label sad, scared, mad… Currently he has no vehicle for being taught social entry skills, what to do when an interaction with another child breaks down…
One thing that I haven’t discussed about Matt was some of his motor issues. He didn’t hold himself upright the way other kids did. Besides having bizarre repetitive movements, he held his body stiffly. He was small for his age. For a long time he walked on his tip toes. He couldn’t do the things that other children did. He couldn’t skate without someone holding his hand. He couldn’t swim. He was unable to participate in group sports because he didn’t have the needed motor skills. He was also visually impaired. All of these issues separated him from fitting in with the other kids. He would pester kids to get their attention. They would tease him back to be mean because he was different, although Matt did not realize it.
Matt was able to label some feelings. He wasn’t able to read nonverbal communication, but could tell if someone was angry if they were yelling or sad if they were crying. He was not easily able to express feelings either.
It is strange looking back at this. I was the sibling that spent the most time with Matt as a child. Matt was less than 2 years younger than me. Although Matt and Mark were only 18 months apart, my parents sent Mark to a different school. I knew things about Matt that my parents didn’t even know about. I knew how the kids teased him. I saw a lot of things that my parents couldn’t see.
For a very long time, Matt and I lived separately in the same world.