The Turn Taker uses visual and/or audio cues to facilitate turn taking and/or sharing in children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome or other special need. This app has also been used successfully with young children, children diagnosed with ADHD, and with any child that finds it difficult to share!
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A master’s level applied behavior analyst who has been working with children with autism for over 10 years developed the turn taker as a tool to teach clients how to take turns or share, after having much success with the tool has decided to release it, so others can share in the benefits of the turn taker.
Turn taking is a key social skill for all children, especially those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, down syndrome and other special needs. Learning to appropriately take turns is imperative to create and maintain social relationships.
Many children, especially those diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, down syndrome, or other intellectual disability, struggle with learning to take turns, either when sharing an item or in game play. Studies have specifically shown that outcomes for young children with autism spectrum disorders who socially avoided peers tended to use less language as they aged compared to peers who showed social interest and active engagement.
Without interventions that focus directly on social and play skills many children, especially those with autism, down syndrome or other special needs, may continue to exist in isolation even if placed within a rich social environment. Children with autism may not act on play materials or imitate peer actions without cues, external facilitation, or instruction; however, with prompting and instruction, play skills can improve. The turn taker acts as an easy and portable audio and visual cue to easily teach these important social skills.
Interventions targeting social skills have been shown to increase peer interactions and enhance social play output in children and youths diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (such as asperger's syndrome), Down syndrome, and other special needs.
Often interventions designed to target social skills are complex, and may necessitate the presence of an expert such as a speech and language pathologist, behavioral therapist or occupational therapist. This turn taking app easily facilitates turn taking and sharing in any environment!
Caregivers are able to set the time of each person’s turn. This is an important feature as it makes it easier to introduce the concept of "sharing". When the turn taker is first introduced the target individual’s turn should be set to be much longer than the other individual’s. This helps to lessen the anxiety the individual may feel when it is not their turn. Once the target individual has mastered turn taking in this phase the other individual’s turn can be slowly made longer until the two times are equal.
The "fairness" quality of the app, with its specific time allotments for each person’s turn will appeal to children of all ages, from sharing a toy in the backseat of a car on a road trip, to taking turns on the swings at the park.
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