Individuals on the autism spectrum face difficulties at different stages of their lives. Learning to take turns is one of them. It may not be obvious, but the ability to take turns involves several skills and is an important part of life.
For example, taking turns involves skills such as:
- The art of waiting
- Reading body language and identifying facial expressions
- Conversation and sharing skills
Read on for a brief highlight of different strategies.
Taking Turns in Games
There are many fun activities and games that are designed for children which involve willingness to participate and taking turns. For instance, games such as spinning a wheel and rolling dice. These activities help children develop recognition of visual elements.
It must be noted that the child learning how to take turns might need some assistance in the beginning. Remember to praise your children at every opportunity to help them stay motivated.
Teachers are the first step toward the outside world, and likewise, they are important for all kids in learning how to take turns. For instance, it’s common for kids to participate in a show-and-tell session during the early years of school.
It is true for everyone that the key to success is repetition. Repeat the tasks until the child is comfortable mimicking the activities to ensure that they become more sociable.
Conversational Turn Taking
This strategy can be implemented by families during dinner time when everyone gets together. They can practice taking turns with talking about their day to everyone involved. This instils a sense of importance when children share information as their turns come around.
Strengthening Other Social Skills
As children gradually start building social skills, it is advisable for parents to start building additional skills that help children improve their overall behaviour.
For example, if a person at the table shares about a bad day, instead of moving immediately to the next person or deviating from the topic, try to express how sorry you feel and ask follow-up questions. Children learn more things by observation than direct teaching.
These tasks involve dedicating time every day as the child starts to pick up on cues and learn accordingly.
Turn Taking and Table Manners
Turn taking is not just important during conversations and games, it is also important during meals. Parents can set up a routine where everyone follows up throughout the day. Gradually, you can increase the number of days per individual.
At the end of every week, award the child for little improvements they have made to build a source of inspiration and reinforce positivity.
Although there are many different strategies highlighted here, consistency plays a crucial role in all of them, and can speed up the learning process to prepare the child to combat any unanticipated and unexpected events.
Encouragement, appreciation, and consistency go a long way in teaching anyone crucial life skills, whether they are autistic or not.
Do you have any suggestions or additional tips to further help our autism community? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below