Turn-taking is the foundation of conversation. Children who are minimally verbal can take conversational turns. Any attempt at communication, including gestures, vocalizations and signs also count as turns. The important component is the act of going back and forth. It is important that the child participates in communication interactions as opposed to solely hearing words spoken to them.
Vocabulary in Avaz
Note: The above screenshot is taken from Avaz India app
How to teach turn-taking?
One of the best ways to teach turn-taking is by playing games.
Choose a game where you can take turns to play as in Snakes & Ladders, Zingo, throw-ball etc.
You can also set up routines that encourage back-and-forth (i.e. tickles, peek-a-boo, catch, etc.)
Ensure you have the appropriate pictures of ‘my turn’ and ‘your turn’ on Avaz.
Model the words My turn and Your turn using Avaz, as you both take turns. Example:
Partner: “Now it’s my turn to play” <as you tap MY TURN on Avaz>
Once you are done with your turn, say “Now it’s your turn to play” <as you tap YOUR TURN on Avaz>
You can encourage turn-taking by:
Waiting expectantly for your child to take a turn (i.e., raising eyebrows and hands to encourage a response)
Using visual cues to let your child know it’s their turn (e.g., using a gesture or picture to cue their turn)
Asking open-ended questions - e.g. whose turn is it now?
and being cognizant of the pace of the exchange
With any attempt to communicate, model it on Avaz and reinforce immediately and appropriately. “I think you are saying it is your turn to play. Yes, you can roll the dice”, while tapping your turn in Avaz.
After several models, use prompting to help the child tap appropriately. Refer Prompting strategies.
After a few trials, fade away your prompts and allow the user to indicate turns independently.