(Written by DM)
DS school has a buddies club where group of NT children spends time with all the children in special day class. DS eagerly looks forward to buddies club meetings. DS enjoys engaging in all the buddies’ activities. DS has connected with few of them also keeps in touch even after they have moved to college. Each year the School District conducts Special Games, where all the special needs children from all the schools gets to participate. A buddy from the Buddies club accompanies DS and each of his classmates, who will encourage, motivate, and support their buddy to try various games. Their buddies cheer them all the way while taking part. The buddies club had planning session for special games this year, as part of the discussion shared the photos from previous year. DS came home excited, saying “I got to see the special games photos of previous years. It brought back all the good memories and good time. I feel very happy and good”. DS was checking with me and DD if our memories too will be triggered like this. I explained this is natural for everyone, this experience is called Nostalgia.
DS practices math in IXL. At the end of the day, he would want to try the word problems with familiar names instead of names given, we take turns to replace the names. I started saying names from different categories, from his earlier schools, places we stayed. DS responded, “Once you told the names from the old apartment/school it brought back all the good memories of that place, I feel happy and good” DS has begun to express his Nostalgia or is he only articulating now? Not sure about it but DS has been encoding episodic (emotional) memories of his life experiences in his system in spite of being extremely anxious.