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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I posted this in the general parenting forum because I'm not entirely sure this is just a special needs thing. All three of my kids interrupt a lot at home, but only my oldest ever has comments about it from school. We've been trying to be consistent at home encouraging turn taking from everyone. Today my youngest child was interrupting. I pointed this out and asked him to wait his turn. He told me he can't tell when it's his turn because when he thinks someone is done talking and it's his turn, it turns out they're not done talking. He seemed to really mean this. The thing is, I struggle with this as an adult. I just wait until I actually hear a semi-long pause, but if I'm at all objective with myself, a lot of the time I wait an extremely long time to talk because I'm worried about interrupting, and then I get my whole idea out at once so that I don't lose track of what I'm thinking. I realize this method is not the ideal one for the kids to learn, but I can't think of anything besides hearing the person stop talking for a couple of seconds. Any tips to pass on to kids from those of you who are more conversationally gifted, or maybe not but learned how?
 

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My son is 8 and has struggled with interruption for a long time. When he wants to say something, it's hard holding it in! That being said, he is learning. We've taught him to listen for the pauses, but also, it's important that they listen to what's being SAID too. For example, if a guy says to his wife over dinner "I had the worst day today at work...[then pauses for whatever reason, maybe to serve himself some food]..." the child might think he's done talking if he just listens for pauses, but really, the dad's WORDS pretty much just announced that he's going to talk about his day.

Maybe that's a bad example. I'm rushing. But I did want to give you a tool that helps. Since dinnertime interruptions are frequent with us, and there's lots of pausing to chew & all that, our son has learned to raise his hand, even if just for a second. At first I thought it was odd, because hand-raising is really meant for a classroom setting, but it's really been a help! He raises his hand and we can gesture "just a minute" by holding up an index finger, and then continue our thought. I think this helps him a lot.

Hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I can see how that would be affective at times when there is a group of people talking and the potential for a free for all is huge. In a young kid (my youngest is 7), the hand raising wouldn't seem too odd. I'm now thinking if there is a subtler gesture the oldest (11) could use in public situations. Maybe a finger raising?
 

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For your oldest son, I'd really start working with him on listening to the actual content of what's being said, to get his cues. There are so many cues that give us the "all clear" to start talking, beyond just the pauses. There's the word choice (for example, "if..." is usually followed by "then" and "On the one hand, such and such...." means that another, contrasting point is about to be made.

Then there's tone of voice. You know how you can tell when "....but...." is coming? We can tell it all the time. For example, "I know you're probably not going to like this....." [there's a pause, but you know that more is coming because of the inflection]

We're homeschoolers who lean toward unschooling, so I'm constantly teaching stuff like this on the fly. You could make it into a game. You could say a sentence and see if your son could tell if you're going to say more. Mine's only 8 yrs. old but I've been doing this stuff forever. We're language fans here anyway, so maybe that's why discussions like this are so common with us. My point being it can be fun and informal, and he can get some practice listening for subtle cues that tell him when he can jump into the conversation.

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Originally Posted by FarmerBeth View Post

I can see how that would be affective at times when there is a group of people talking and the potential for a free for all is huge. In a young kid (my youngest is 7), the hand raising wouldn't seem too odd. I'm now thinking if there is a subtler gesture the oldest (11) could use in public situations. Maybe a finger raising?
 

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You might compare conversation to playing "pitch and catch."

You need to watch the other person to see they're paying

attention and ready to catch the ball. Also, the more careful you

are and take time to pitch the ball the more likely the other

person is to catch it. Throw to soon (interrupt) and the other

person will not be as ready to catch and the ball rolls away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That's a neat way to put it. I think my youngest could get that (very sporty). My oldest has a problem with non-verbals, so it may not work with him, but I was more asking about the other two kids, anyway. It seems most kids have struggles with interrupting at some point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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Originally Posted by NellieKatz View Post

For your oldest son, I'd really start working with him on listening to the actual content of what's being said, to get his cues. There are so many cues that give us the "all clear" to start talking, beyond just the pauses. There's the word choice (for example, "if..." is usually followed by "then" and "On the one hand, such and such...." means that another, contrasting point is about to be made.
This really would make a lot of sense with my oldest son, particularly. I don't think there's any special needs involved in interrupting by the other kids, but my oldest does have problems reading non-verbals. You have some great concrete examples like "if" is usually followed by "then". There's some great non-verbal and verbal examples here. This is really helping.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by aparent View Post

You might compare conversation to playing "pitch and catch."

You need to watch the other person to see they're paying

attention and ready to catch the ball. Also, the more careful you

are and take time to pitch the ball the more likely the other

person is to catch it. Throw to soon (interrupt) and the other

person will not be as ready to catch and the ball rolls away.
I actually got out a tennis ball with my son who has some small social problems. We talked about tossing the ball back .. which is answering the person's question and adding "one more thing" so the ball doesn't get dropped.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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Originally Posted by philomom View Post

I actually got out a tennis ball with my son who has some small social problems. We talked about tossing the ball back .. which is answering the person's question and adding "one more thing" so the ball doesn't get dropped.
I think using the actual ball could make a fun game of it. I like the adding one more thing so the ball doesn't get dropped. It's a nice reminder to still participate but not overtake the conversation!
 
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