We have a girl about 18 in our Drawing class. Most socially awkward person I've met in quite awhile. Severely socially handicapped. Apologizes for everything......even things she doesn't do/has no part in. The type that lets someone cut in line then apologizes to them. I knew she was a difficult child, just hadn't quite had her pegged yet. Girl is too nervous to talk much except to give you an apology. So bad that she'd forgotten her drawing paper last week and crumpled into tears because of it and needed to be taken by the instructor to the counselor. At first this girl's constant "I'm sorry" grated on Nichole's nerves. One day when the girl sat next to Nichole in class, and the usual "I'm sorry" came up......Nichole told her that she didn't have to apologize unless she really did something. I held my breath cuz I wasn't sure she would be able to say it tactfully. But she did ok. Our last still life this girl chose a very hard one to do. And did it surprisingly well. While she didn't meet the parameters of the assignment, what she created was unique and truly amazing. Nichole and I both lavished her with praise that was deserved. I made a point to bring it up in critique, which started the other students praising her work as well. *I did it not only because she deserved it, but because many of the other students, although adults, often keep a distance from her and speak about her under their breath.* (I know she hears them) Today I was off doing my thing and Nichole had gotten out of class early. This girl waits for the drawing class in the cafe everyday and sits alone. When I went looking for Nichole she was sitting with her and they were having a nice conversation. The girl was still awkward but Nichole was ignoring it and it kept her talking. When we went out to the car to get our stuff for the class, Nichole said she'd found her in the cafe eating alone again. She'd told her to come and sit with her. While they were chatting..........the girl explained to Nichole that she has aspergers and bipolar and that being in class is very hard for her. Being around people appears to be very hard for her. I joined them and it was nice to see this girl smiling and laughing. It continued on into class. And the girl was having problems with the perspective assignment. Asking for help nearly sends her into a panic. Nichole told her in a low voice to ask the instructor to show her again what to do. So she did. You could see the relief on her face. For all the impatience Nichole has shown her brother in the past, and once in a while now.........That she could reach out to this girl who was miserable, scared......and frankly all but being ostracized. Well, I'm mighty proud of her. Shows how much she's grown in the past 2 yrs. I think seeing someone else suffering........the way her brother has suffered.....struck a chord with her. She has befriended this girl. The "I'm sorrys" aren't popping up as often. The girl doesn't feel the need to flee the classroom as often. (she comes out with me for smoke breaks to get away from the stimuli) Two of the other younger students have jumped on board and befriended the girl as well. The class attitude toward her is shifting. This is a side of Nichole I haven't seen since she was much younger. This is the girl who'd whollop kids twice her size for being mean to her big brother whom she idolized. I thought she'd been lost forever.......But it's nice to know that she's still in there.