My son Thing Two has severe language processing difficulties, both expressive (talking) and receptive (understanding.) It has been a great fear of mine since he started school that he might be unable to tell me if anything bad happened to him during the day.
When he first started preschool, he was completely unable to tell me anything about his days, good or bad. His teacher would send home summary sheets of what they'd done that day, and I would use those (usually fruitlessly) to try to start a conversation about school. As he progressed, he began to respond to my questions, and then, finally, to spontaneously tell me things about his day. But still, expressing complicated ideas was (and is) very difficult for him, and he would usually get frustrated and quit.
As his language skills have improved, he's begun playing much more with the other kids, which is a wonderful thing. He has friends now. But when stressed, or in a position where he feels like he has to explain or defend himself, words often fail him, and I worry that he will end up taking undeserved blame.
Today, on the playground at recess, two other boys tackled a third, one of his friends, and tickled him when he was down. Thing Two went to help his friend up, tripped, and landed in the melee with the other three. At that point, a teacher noticed what was going on and sent all four boys to the time-out wall. I asked Thing Two if he explained what happened to the teacher. He said he had, and that the teacher then allowed him and the friend (but not the two aggressors) back out to play.
Let me list some good things here:
1) Thing Two noticed that his friend was having trouble.
2) Thing Two went to help.
3) Thing Two stood up for himself to the teacher.
4) Last, but most assuredly not least, Thing Two managed to explain all of this to me when he got home. I had to ask a few questions, but the answers were coherent, and that was a complicated series of social interactions to put into words.
Progress, my friends. We are making progress.