The loneliest place to be is alone in a crowded room. You know the feeling: you walk into a room and you don’t know a soul. Everyone seems to know somebody in the room…everyone else but you, that is.
Imagine what it must be like for a child going to school. I do intervention work with students who have learning disabilities. These kids have a lot in common with old people…they don’t like change. One particular day was challenging for a girl who had her schedule changed. She had just become comfortable with her current routine when it had to change again to accommodate her needs in all of her classes.
You would have thought that she had lost her Mom or Dad. It was that traumatic for her. She confided in us that she did not have any friends in the new class and she was lonely. The teacher asked some of the kids to reach out to her and befriend her. When they did, she lit up. That small act of kindness helped her get back on solid ground again.
When you see a child that is sitting alone it is not necessarily a bad thing, but it could be a clue to some deeper issues if it is habitual. If they are continually alone in a crowded room, they probably need someone to say, “Hi.” That small act of kindness just might be the thing that gets them grounded again. Look for them next time you are at a large event. You will see them standing like wall flowers. They need someone to help them bloom.
Everyone knows that introverts are not likely to reach out first to a stranger; it is not in their nature. If they are introverted with learning disabilities, you can be assured they will not. They need someone to not just see them….but to reach out and engage them. As teachers, parents, and educators, we need to be the ones to facilitate inclusion. If we don’t care, how can we expect the kids to?