An important post by autistic blogger Davis Finch
Tag is a fantastic game for kids. There is no clear winner or loser and it plays in an endless loop. It’s a hallmark of Horse Boy and Movement Method work.
Like all things in this work, our kids show us the next steps and many years ago, we added a feature to tag we call “New Rule.”
“New Rule” means that when you are tagged and you are “it” you have the chance to make a rule that everyone must follow.
Why is this important?
Because you put a disempowered child in power.
Naturally, he will abuse it. His new rule usually involves something humiliating for everyone else. You MUST follow that rule - with joy and playful curiosity.
Soon, you or your staff is tagged and you have the chance to make a new rule. You make a kind one - or a generous one, - or you concede your chance and give the disempowered child to suggest a rule again. Maybe your manufacture a rule where everyone does something ridiculous together. You can give choices too. Each turn is played with laughter and tickles and fall on the ground laughing.
Naturally, one child will rarely get tagged. She’s too shy or too slow, and you bring her into the game (you have modeled inclusiveness). One child is terrified of the energy and your next rule says that everyone must whisper and run in slow motion (you model sensitivity). Within minutes, you have created a culture where power is wielded with kindness and sweetness and real inclusivity. Nuanced social skills are being modeled and natural reinforcement of kind behavior blooms without the taint of artificiality. If your child continues to be a tyrant in his rules - you follow them to the letter (you relieve the grip of shame and anger and very soon, he learns to make and have friends).
Earlier this month, our group posted articles that showed that the game of tag is being outlawed on school campus’. It’s a reactionary approach. And worse yet, it’s a lost opportunity to model kindness and peaceful exchange of power and a chance to move and express ourselves in a way that is healthy for our bodies, for our senses and for our sense of self.
Yesterday, a child with a history of violence was brought into the game. The child with no school placement because of his acting out, a child diagnosed with social skills so low his family couldn’t eat in restaurants for years invited others into the game, made rules that were sweet and funny, recognized a child who wasn’t participating because she didn’t understand the game (a very complex social cue) and made special rules for her. When he stumped us with Pokemon trivia, he gently whispered clues to us. I can’t imagine a more successful day. He got more exercise than he normally gets with all the running and tagging and he was able to regulate in his transitions smoothly for the rest of the playdate.
By modeling a culture of delight, movement and sweetness - we got all we bargained for - and more.
Attachment is the hardest I’ve ever worked with. I’m following this post closely. Some great stuff here
A group for everybody interested in Horse Boy in the US
thought you might like this blog post: 10 year old Q has freckles across the bridge of his nose. He’s tall for his age. People think he’s older...thought you might like this blog post: 10 year old Q has freckles across the bridge of his nose. He’s tall for his age. People think he’s older.
He’s a “sensory seeker” and will press his body into tight spaces, walls, curved surfaces and into you. Last week, he was standing on something I was leaning against and suddenly, all 100+ pounds of him was standing on my shoulders.
He’s got a blissful sense of adventure and we get the chance to be part of it almost every week
In Horse Boy Method™ - a pivotal ethos is “follow the child.” By honoring his interests, by listening and responding to his fantasy world, we acknowledge his thoughts with dignity and importance.
Q starts sessions with a “staff meeting.” Calling the meeting to order by pointing his Nerf sword , we discuss how the afternoon should proceed.
Yesterday, it was decided that one teen volunteer and two staff members would compete in a “cage match fight” while he, the fight commissioner, would ride around on his horse and tell us the rules.
“To the costume room with you!” He shouted. We marched to the room where we hold the riding helmets, the books and toys, and the ever important costume bins.
Holding costume elements up to Q, we asked him if he’d like to don a knight’s cape.
“Put it on that one.” He gestured to one of us.
While we found a riding helmet that would fit him, he outfitted us with Hawaiian leis,... Show more