Taking Turns: Enhancing Play and Social Skills for Autism

At Blue Parachute, we are dedicated to supporting individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in developing essential
communication, interaction, and social engagement skills. One critical skill that forms the foundation of successful social interactions is taking turns. In this blog, we will delve into the significance of this play skill, we explore strategies for teaching it, and emphasize its importance in the context of autism.

The Power of Turn-Taking

Taking turns involves sharing an activity or a conversation with others, alternating roles or actions. This skill is a cornerstone of effective communication and is essential for successful interaction in various settings. For individuals with autism, learning to let someone else have a chance to play or participate can exceed beyond the surface level of play—it fosters connection, understanding, and cooperation.

Learning How to Take Turns: Strategies for Success

Teaching turn-taking to individuals with autism requires a thoughtful approach that aligns with their strengths and learning styles. Here are strategies to consider:

Visual Supports

Visual aids, such as visual schedules or cue cards, can assist in demonstrating the concept of turn-taking. Visuals clearly represent when it’s one’s turn and help manage expectations during interactions.

Structured Play Activities

Engage in structured play activities that naturally incorporate turn-taking. Games like board games, puzzles, or cooperative tasks allow individuals with autism to practice letting others have some fun in a controlled and enjoyable environment.

Social Stories

Social stories are excellent tools to introduce the concept of turn-taking and its importance. These stories provide context, scenarios, and expected behaviors, allowing individuals with autism to understand and navigate situations like these.

Modeling and Role-Playing

Modeling and role-playing are effective techniques to demonstrate turn-taking in action. By acting out various scenarios, caregivers and educators can guide individuals with autism in understanding the dynamics of sharing roles or activities.

Why Is Turn-Taking Important for Autism?

Turn-taking is vital in fostering social inclusion, reciprocal communication, and cooperation. For individuals with autism, mastering this skill brings several benefits:

Enhanced Social Interaction

Something seemingly insignificant, such as letting other have a chance to participate in an activity, promotes back-and-forth communication, allowing individuals with autism to engage in conversations and interactions actively.

Cooperative Play

By learning to not monopolize one’s play activities, individuals with autism can participate in group activities and cooperative play effectively.

Improved Communication Skills

Turn-taking encourages individuals with autism to listen, process, and respond appropriately—a valuable skill for communication.

Building Relationships

Successful turn-taking fosters positive interactions, aiding in the development of meaningful relationships with peers, family members, and friends.

Encouraging Turn-Taking in Autism: Practical Tips

For caregivers and educators, promoting turn-taking in individuals with autism, especially children on the spectrum,  requires patience and consistency. Here are practical strategies to encourage this behavior:

  1. Set clear expectations: Clearly communicate the concept of taking turns and its benefits to interactions.
  2. Use positive reinforcement: Reward individuals with autism for successful turn-taking behaviors to reinforce the skill.
  3. Provide support: Offer guidance and support during interactions, especially when learning to take turns is challenging.
  4. Be patient: Understand that mastering turn-taking is a gradual process. Celebrate small victories and progress.

What Is an Example of Taking Turns?

You can illustrate this concept to someone on the autism spectrum in ways other than just playing with friends. An example you can give is engaging in a conversation where one person speaks while the other listens. After the first person finishes speaking, the second person takes their turn to contribute. This alternating pattern ensures both participants have the opportunity to express themselves.

Unlocking Social Skills With Blue Parachute

The collection of instructional videos available from Blue Parachute, all designed by Licensed and Certified Behavior Therapists, focus on nurturing critical skills like turn-taking. By incorporating applied behavior analysis (ABA) techniques, our videos offer practical guidance to support individuals with ASD in enhancing their social skills.

Explore Our Resources and Ignite Growth

Empower individuals with autism by strengthening their play and social abilities. Our videos serve as valuable resources for caregivers, parents, educators, and individuals with ASD. Start the journey towards improved social interactions and connections today.

Find answers to your questions here or use our online contact form today. Blue Parachute: Guiding individuals with ASD toward successful social engagement and interaction.