When There’s No Room On The Buddy Bench

I always wondered what Sydney was doing at lunch and recess. Did she have friends to play with? Did she play by herself? Did she wander around by herself? How did that make her feel?

Yesterday I had recess duty and I complained like I was a kid, because it was hot. In the end I’m so glad I was at recess because I witnessed an example of inclusion that wasn’t prompted. It was a genuine act of kindness.

Donny was my student last year and his mom and I became good friends. When I told her about what I witnessed we both thought that’s a blog!

Our PTO purchased a Buddy Bench for students to sit on during recess if they are feeling left out or need a buddy to play with at recess. The students use the bench and I think it has helped students not to feel left out.

Many people believe that students with autism like to be alone. That’s not always the case. The best experiences for Sydney when she was nonverbal was to have a friend say hi, grab her hand to walk around and talk with her. Although, at the time she didn’t respond her smile spoke for her.

Yesterday Donny noticed a student sitting by the wall alone. He sat next to him and started a conversation. Next, he decided to sit back to back with him not to overwhelm him. A few moments later another student joined them.

In those five minutes I thought of Sydney and how she must have felt at times. She had the words to use but couldn’t always express them with her peers to communicate that she wanted to be included.

I started brainstorming with my teammates Tammy and Tanya about how can we foster a Peer Buddy Recess, maybe we already have it, because remember I’m always inside doing lunch duty. 😊

Watching inclusion yesterday on the playground gave me hope that there are children who want to interact with students with special needs and they may have questions and that’s okay.

All it takes is one person to change the world. Way to go Donny. We are all so proud of you!



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