Sunday, January 20, 2013

Exploring Ideas for Social Connections

I’m so thankful for your great ideas I received after my last post of trying to help my child fit in. Already I’ve used some, such as sharing our own stories of not fitting in so that he realizes that he isn’t the only one to feel this way. I’ve also placed calls for a social skills class in our area, but one idea has really inspired me, starting a game club!

A common thread I read in many responses was to find a group where he shares a special interest so that he can identify with them and have his own connections. Unfortunately our son’s school is very limited in this area, offering after school sports only—which he wants nothing to do with— so I’m considering the idea of starting our own group.

I’m thinking of hosting an after school game club on fridays at the school. The principal has already approved the use of a room, as long as I’m the chaperone. The club would focus on what my son likes to call “nerd games” such as Bakugan, Pokemon and other similar games. We’re thinking of planning tournaments and introducing new games as well.

Right now most of the kids may come from my son’s study skills class which is comprised of kids who have IEPs or 504 plans. Most of the boys in his class like to play these games during lunch, but unfortunately they get a lot of ridicule from the other kids in school.

One of the foreseeable challenges is getting my youngest son on board since he doesn’t like to do much out of our home, especially after school. But one mention of making him in charge of check-in has earned us enthusiastic support, as he said, “Sure, I get to be in charge of 6th graders, yay!”

My oldest son is completely in love with the idea and can’t wait to see what kind of interest he can draw in the club. It’s imperative that we have enough kids, the last thing I want to do is have a babysitting club watching one or two additional boys after school. So next week he’s going to see how many kids could stay after for this club and from there we’ll determine if we can move forward with the idea. In the meantime, the boys are already thinking of their club logo and planning the tournaments they want to participate in.

As for me, I’m feeling a little nervous about taking on another responsibility, but feel it may be worth it in the long run.


  1. I am so happy for you and your son !

    However, what bugs me is the "babysitting club, watching one or two kids".
    What makes me say that at the beginning, you may have only two or three kids.
    Usually, clubs like this start with two or three kids + the chaperone, and then, grows with the time.
    What I want to say is that two or three kids for a beginning is not ideal, but it is not such a big deal. You cannot expect to have 50 kids the first day (I exaggerate, but to get the idea).

    The other thing is that even with two or three kids, your club is not necessarily leading to be a babysitting club.
    It's up to you and your son to make it a game club and not a babysitting club.
    Being a babysitting club is not a question of number : you can have a babysitting club with 10 kids and you can have a 100% game club with two kids.
    The game club or babysitting club is a question of what this club offers.
    Also, if the kids two or three kids are happy, they will spread the word and your club will gain popularity by word of mouth.
    So, you will have little, but maxout the use of this little, at least at the beginning.

    If you want my last but not least two cents, I advise you to start small. It does not have to prevent you from having big goals.
    But you won't reach big goals within one day.
    So, you can say that two or three kids + your son for a beginning is already good. If you have more kids, great. But otherwise, don't beat yourself up because it does not prevent your club from being successful.
    Then, you can aim for five, then ten...
    After all, every business started small before being big. They didn't get big within one day, and Rome didn't build itself within one day ;-)

    Don't put too much pressure on yourself when the club has not even started yet.
    You and your son don't need a burn out when the club has not even started.

  2. Awesome idea! I agree that it may start small but if you and your son are positive with whoever comes, it will grow. This will a great opportunity to let your son have some ownership in a group. You may expand into some other type of group that has some ties to other schools. My daughter did Destination Imagination- also a "nerd group" but there were ties to a competition. Sometimes part of the kids identity is loving the fact that they may be considered nerds now but "Nerds Rule"! Starting a club is a lot of extra work- but hey..this is what we do! You ROCK mom!

  3. I love that idea! For my son's birthday we had two friends over (which itself was an achievement, given that we tend to have trouble beyond 1 on 1 and sometimes even then) to play D&D. I had not DM'd in 25 years, so I was really nervous, but my sole and only goal was that they have fun.

    Rules? Don't care, except for the first rule: everyone gets to have fun.

    Dice said guy should fall and die? Not from where I am sitting, pal. Oh no, you're clinging to the rim of the pit!

    It was a success mainly because the boys all agreed early on that coming up with creative solutions to problems (and better yet, FUNNY solutions to problems) was more important than an arbitrary ruleset.

    I can't wait to hear how this works out. I know you are weary, but as always I salute you and all parents in our situations who keep moving forward. For the kids.

    1. Great idea! I too haven’t played that game in years!