Tristin began attending the Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Missouri the summer of 2011. Tristin was a new kid to the Boys & Girls Club and has Asperger’s Syndrome. Tristin lacked social skills, was withdrawn, and had trouble making friends. He had trouble being a group setting, did not like to speak up during group discussions, and sometimes had trouble behaving.
Staff worked with Tristin’s mother to develop a plan to help Tristin fit in and enjoy his time at the Boys & Girls Club. In the first few days, staff noticed Tristin was very introverted and began working with him every day. The real breakthrough came when staff realized they shared a liking for the online game Runescape. Staff and Tristin would discuss different aspects of the game and soon another child, Evan, joined these conversations. Tristin and Evan were soon inseparable.
Once a connection had been made, staff began to mentor Tristin in a group setting, instead of one-on-one, which introduced him slowly into a group with a controlled and positive atmosphere. Staff made sure to ask Tristin questions about himself and to include him in any and all group discussions.
Throughout the summer, Tristin really began to open up. He became a very outgoing kid who would voluntarily insert himself in conversations and help lead a group. By the end of the summer, Tristin had developed a circle of close friends and had progressed immensely. Tristin’s mother was brought to tears discussing with staff the progress he has made. He went from being afraid to participate in a conversation to leading conversations with his new friends and genuinely enjoyed being around others.