No, you are not looking at a revival of “The Brady Bunch.” You see, there is a different kind of bunch that proved to be a helpful coping skill for me during my middle school years that I think a lot of schools should really take into consideration.
It’s called “Lunch Bunch” and I used this type of lunch when I was in Middle School to avoid the chaos that was the school cafeteria. Several other students who and I were sensory friendly would eat in the classroom with our homebase teacher and have a conversation that would be the only one in the entire setting.
Why did I find this to be beneficial? Well, “Lunch Bunch” was sort of a sensory escape for me, away from the cafeteria.
In my previous blog, I talked about how eating lunch during my middle school years would prove to be sensory overloading because of the fact that it would not only be loud, but also, I would have to deal with angry principals and lunch monitors that would sometimes enforce “silent lunches” if the cafeteria got out of hand.
When discussing this issue with my psychologist yesterday, she was telling of a story where she actually got detention for merely mouthing a word during a silent lunch and another case where a gym teacher who was acting as lunch monitor blew a whistle so loud in the cafeteria that it drove one person that sees her to tears.
I mean, who wants to be subjected to that kind of environment? Not me, the former special education student and certainly not the current special education student. The combination of the loud noise level, plus angry lunch monitors is a sensory overload or overstimulation just waiting to happen and if it does happen, then the adults in the cafeteria would be the ones responsible.
This is why schools need to consider something like a lunch bunch that would be a quiet and controlled environment for sensory friendly students to eat in peace. But most importantly, is that something like a lunch bunch builds bridges, not just with students, but also with teachers and even administrators.
By having a “lunch bunch,” teachers and students can get to know each other on a personal level and learn something about each other that they may not have known otherwise.
Best of all, they do it in a quiet environment where something like “silent lunches” do not need to be used. You could have the entire cafeteria be in a “silent lunch” and the only conversations going on would be in that small lunchroom setting. Clearly, the benefits outweigh the risks in this matter and would do good the mental health of both students and teachers/administrators.
Catch you all later!!