Saturday, June 11, 2011

Trouble Taking Turns? Struggle Sharing?

One of the first things we want our kids to learn is to share and to take turns. 
After all, these are crucial concepts to learn in life, but I think we need to take
a step back and think about the typical time that kids learn these skills and think 
different ways to teach kiddos on the spectrum these concepts. 

Firstly, typical three year olds have a really hard time understanding how to 
share and take turns. It is not until four or even sometimes five years of age 
where kids have a pretty good grasp and understanding of what it means to
share and how to take turns. So, if your three year old is fighting over toys with
his/her sibling, breathe a sigh of relief in knowing that kids are supposed to struggle
with this skill at that age! 

Now, we may verbally emphasize the importance of sharing and facilitate 
turn taking with our little ones, but what's going to happen when we're not
there to tell them? Let's think of a strategy where we can back ourselves out
of that process and help kids be more successful when they are participating in
center time at school, for example, and the teacher is not always part of the

Below are so ideas of how to make this concept more clear:

For kids who are reading or recognizing familiar names we can simply jot the participants
names down and use an arrow or highlight the name to indicate whose turn it is.
I made one of the wheels for a family who needed help figuring out a way to show 
whose turn it was to pick the DVD on car trips. The child I was working with thought
he should always be the one to choose and had a meltdown when this was not the case 
so we used a more visual way to clarify the expectations for him.

These two methods are also great visual ways to indicate the turn taking process. 
You can use either digital photos or poker chips where the person manipulates
it by taking the photo/chip and putting it in the finished pocked at the bottom once 
the turn is taken. This way kidscan see ahead of time how many times they will
be able to go and help them understand that when it's the other person's photo
or chip, then it's his/her turn and the expectation is to wait.

These are just a few strategies you may try to help teach kids what it means
to share and take turns. Before you know it, they may get the hang out it 
and be doing it spontaneously! Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

- Molly

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