First of all, I was REALLY uncomfortable with the idea of "let's send Child 1 and his buddy with ADHD out of the room so that we can talk about them." Doesn't that seem weird to you? But, this was their regular speech time, they're always pulled out together on Wednesdays at 2:00, so it wasn't unusual for them to be asked to leave the room. It was unusual to see me standing in the hallway on the way out, but he was cool with it. And the nature of the conversation would have been pretty uncomfortable for them to have been around for, at least for the kid with ADHD. Anyway, I thought it was weird, and it didn't feel right, but I guess there's no other way to do this?
The teacher lead the discussion, and I really like her. She talked about how sometimes kids don't want to play with you when you ask them to, sometimes they want to just do their own thing, and if you want to play with them, what are some things you can do, instead? I was very impressed at how sweet and sensitive all these kids are. They all claimed to have asked him to play at one point, and he said no, and they knew that he would rather draw roads in the wood chips than play tag with them. They said if they wanted to play with him they could ask if they could draw in the wood chips, too. They said that they knew he liked to go on the see-saw and they liked pushing him up and down on it.
I was asked "when I ask him to play and he says no, what should I do?" What an awesome question. I explained that, first and foremost, it doesn't mean that he doesn't like them, it just meant that he wants to do his own thing. I said they could ask again, if they wanted to, or they could just leave him alone and remember that it wasn't personal. They actually had a lot more to say about the other kid who left the room. I know this kid, if there is any kid in the world you could call Child 1's friend, it would be this kid. He's very outgoing, veeeery sweet and has a lot of sensory and impulse control issues. He's more likely to ask to play and be rejected than to be asked. Honestly? I was really glad the things they were saying about him weren't about my kid. Not because it was mean, which it wasn't, it just sounded like his social life is so much more difficult for him to manage. He's so much more in your face than my kid and is a lot more noticeable; you have to make a serious effort to interact with Child 1, you do not need to make any effort whatsoever to interact with this other kid.
Kids can be so mean, but these kids were not. At least not in the presence of the adults in the room. They said "Child 1 is very sweet." They really seemed to want to play with him. I'm so dreading Middle School. I almost started crying at one point, but I held it together. Sigh.
Related, from Special Happens.