Friday, September 25, 2009

Circle of Friends

Ashley came home from school yesterday with some artwork that she and a student in regular ed created together. With it was a note explaining that the regular ed student was one of the 'Circle of Friends' club at the high school.

I had heard about Circle of Friends from my son who recently graduated from this high school, and I had heard from other parents. Although comments have been mixed, the majority have been positive, and the existence of this club was one of the reasons I chose to send Ashley to this high school.

Regular ed students join Circle of Friends as an extracurricular activity, similar to joining the Spanish Club, for example. When the students have study hall, or sometimes before and after school, they will volunteer in the special ed classrooms. I'm really hoping these students will help bring Ashley the social experiences that most high schoolers find.

As I wrote earlier this month, I've pretty much given up on expecting my school district to provide an actual education for Ashley, but I haven't given up on the social aspect that school can provide. So far, it seems we are on the right road for that, and I will be keeping my fingers crossed that it can continue.

Does your child's school have a similar program?


Corrie Howe said...

Yes. I think it is called "Buddies" or something like that. It actually starts in middle school and the "buddies" are together through middle school and high school.

I'm trying to talk my younger daughter into doing something like this. She's still really young (second grade) but she has a peer in her class with Asperger's Syndrome, like her brother. When she tells me about the trouble he's having, I reminder her how he's like her brother and needs her to help him with peer relations. She's a great advocate for her own brother. I hope she'll be one for others as she gets older.

mommy~dearest said...

Yes! We have the "LINKS" program, where the gen.ed kids can volunteer to buddy up with the sp.ed kids for recess, assemblies, transitions- whatever the child may need. Most importantly, the child reserves the right to refuse the LINK support- maybe he doesn't feel like playing with Emily today at recess, but would really like to play with Greg? Emily has to ask him to play, but has the understanding that he may say no. Yhe LINKS are rotated, so not one kid is having to spend all their time with another. It is a really cool program, and one of the reasons I chose the school that my son is currently in.

It's a volunteer program, so no child is forced to be a LINK if they don't want to. That being said, when Jaysen started second grade, he had 6 LINKS. By the end of the year, he had 19. Awesome program.

Azaera said...

Wow I have never heard of that kind of program but it sounds pretty cool. I will have to look into it once Skyler starts going to school.