- Posted by spectrum
- On November 16, 2017
For many children on the Autism Spectrum, sharing and taking turns can be a challenge. They may get caught up in a game or activity and become impatient waiting for other people to have a go.
Learning a skill such as turn taking has real world implications too. There are many things we do in our everyday grown up lives that involve waiting, whether it’s on the phone, in a line or being stuck in traffic. But being patient, and displaying reciprocal social behaviour is not always something that comes naturally to those on the spectrum.
What does difficulty with turn taking or sharing look like?
- Talking over other people
- Taking turn in game before other participants are able to take their turn, or not stopping to allow another participant to have a turn or input
- Seeking attention or monopolising attention of parent or teacher
- Playing individual games
- Being possessive over toys and games
Why is it so important to be able to take turns and share with no dramas?
Having a skill like taking turns and sharing will have an effect later in life, and not only during social games.
Everyday activities that include turn taking or waiting includes:
- Standing in line at the supermarket
- Driving in traffic
- Holding conversations
- Going to the library
- Buying something from canteen at school
- Waiting for teachers help
Here are some tips and strategies we like to use that encourage turn taking:
- Play a game that includes turn taking: such as guess who, snakes and ladders, connect four
- Use language to guide turn taking such as “your turn”, “my turn” or “waiting”
- Have a magic talking stick, encouraging kids to wait their turn in conversation so they get a chance to hold the magic talking stick
- Social skills groups
- Set boundaries i.e. only allowed a certain number of turns before they have to stop playing
- Visual cue cards
- Participating in a turn taking project – using building blocks to build something
- Structured sharing – such as show and tell
- Social stories and role playing!
And don’t forget, don’t worry if they don’t get the hang of turn taking straight away, with practice, repetition and encouragement it will get easier.