Let's call him Joey. He's come to kids' group at the shelter for more than three years. The first time I met him, he kept his eyes down 95% of the time--on the floor, the table, his shoes. He didn't want to talk in group. Didn't want to do anything except play a game he'd brought from home. Rarely interacted with other kids, adults, or me. Everything was "good", "fine", "no problem."
Slowly, he started smiling some, then talking, then doing a "story" during group or an "ABC" exercise.
Even more important, he began to help me pick up when groups were over, which became the time he openly told me what was happening at home or on a trip or at school. And how he felt about it.
He shares his games now with the younger kids, or plays with games or toys the shelter or I supply. He's good to kids outside and never hits or insults anyone.
In fact, he's so good with the other kids, I told him I'd love to see him become a helper on group night when he's old enough. He smiled broadly, shrugged, said, "Maybe."
His card to me when I wasn't at the shelter? It was full of feelings and an important P.S. "I'm a uncle."
Wow. Can't wait to tell him how proud I am of him. Hope he has pictures.