A social deficit is just what the name implies; it is a shortage or impairment of social skills. Kaitlyn has some deficiencies when it comes to her social skills, including shyness. She has always been a shy girl, and that becomes more evident when a person she is unfamiliar with approaches her. She is even somewhat shy with some of the people at my work.
Another area where she is somewhat deficient is her tendency to go along with the crowd. This is not always a bad thing, depending on the kids she is around. When she is with the Spragues, she follows their behavior patterns and it remains easy for us or any other adult to get her attention and get her back on track should her behavior become inappropriate. And that is what Amber and I expect from her; constant and consistent respect for adults.
Where Kaitlyn can run into some trouble is when she is around kids that, for lack of a better way to express it, Amber and I have not had the opportunity to vet. I am sure that these children come from wonderful families, but I am also pretty sure that the kids themselves do not always have Kaitlyn’s best interests. Now, I am also not even close to holding anybody but Kaitlyn responsible for her behavior. But at the same time, she is not good about knowing when to stop a behavior/joke/action without some additional prompting.
Which brings me to the whole point of this entry. Kaitlyn, at least not right now, is more likely to be the follower than the leader. And that has gotten her into some situations at school recently that Amber and I are not too happy with. For some reason, it takes her longer to listen to her teacher when she is asked to discontinue a certain behavior. The result is Kaitlyn no longer being on green fox, and I think everybody knows how I feel about that. Just last week, for example, she was on yellow fox on more than one occasion, so I asked her why she had been put on yellow. She told me that her and some other children were not behaving properly during circle time, and that she, and from I was able to gather, she alone, did not rectify her behavior promptly.
One trouble we will have, at least until she can completely understand her Asperger’s and what it means in her life, is having her follow the right crowd. Maybe I am making too much of this for a 5-year-old, but I also feel that she is socially fragile and needs extra direction. What I also know is that her social deficiencies can become a source of strength and allow her to be a leader in her future. The challenge for Amber and I is maintaining a consistent approach to every interaction with her, and do not get too hard on her when she is down. Most of all, I just want her to know what kind of leader is the one she should follow, and that leader is one that has her best interests in mind.