Progress Report

About eight months ago I shared a story about the challenges of my daughter interacting with neurotypical peers on the playground after school (and presumably during school, though I am not there to witness it.) At the time she was trying to master the game of bar tag, and all of the social intricacies surrounding it, including asking to join the game, waiting for a turn, and finding a willing partner (here’s where we hit the snag). The other day after school I was pleased to see her joining in this game with more confidence with a few other kids after school. She played bar tag for a while, then moved on to play kick ball for a while, then went back to bar tag. By this time there weren’t many kids around, and I was watching her more intently. On the one hand I was eager to get home and move on with the day, and on the other I was so happy to see her more successfully navigating the playground. I have a general philosophy of letting these good times roll.

She played bar tag with a boy who appears to be somewhat older, or at least he is taller, and a girl who was perhaps the boy’s sister. I think maybe they are new to the school. They each played a few games with the child, and each time, she won. As they continued playing I began to sense a general apathy on their part…maybe because it was a warm day and they didn’t feel like running so much. Meanwhile she was having a great time…tag…tag…tag.

As we walked home I told my daughter that it looked like she was having more fun with bar tag now. She told me that she practices at every recess, and that she has even tagged a 3rd grade boy (I am still unsure if this is the same boy she was playing with after school.) Like every skill that she has mastered in her young life she has nailed this one down by sheer determination. Persistence, perhaps to the point of annoying her peers. This may be the other explanation for their less than enthusiastic participation?

Still, she is navigating this tricky territory  having overcome one hurdle and running full steam into the next. Who knew a simple playground game could be the proving ground for so many skills?

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