Communicating Partners, Winter 1999 Newsletter

Parents' Stories
Making Turntaking Fun...

Finding ways to take turns is fun and easy, once you get in the habit. I've learned three things about turntaking: first, watch what your child is doing and become part of it; second, keep the interaction going for awhile; and third, make it fun!

This morning at breakfast, my son, Mark, a five-year-old with Down syndrome, was pretending to read the back of the Cap'n Crunch box. I peeked around the box and said, "Hi!"

He poked his head out and said, "Hi!" back.

The game had started. We made funny faces, growls and roars back and forth with each other as he looked at me from one side of the box, then the other.

Here's another game we've played with words. One day, Mark called me Barbara. This was the first time he had done that, and it was a real surprise. I looked at him —just a little sternly— and said, "Don't call me 'Barbara'. Call me 'mama'!"

He repeated "mama," then said "Barbara" again.

Then I knew how to make a turn-taking game of it. I changed my words a little and said, "Don't call me 'Barbara'! Call me 'mother dear'." Well, of course, he repeated "mother dear," then said "Barbara" again, this time with a big grin. What a game! We went through "sweet mama," "pretty mommy," "skinny mom," "smart mama" and just about everything else I could think of. He loved it! Even after we ended the game, he would sneak up behind me and say "Barbara," just to start it over again. We don't play this game much anymore and I miss it. But all the funny faces, silly sounds and word games have served an important purpose for Mark's development—our days are now one long conversation.

Barbara Mitchell
West Liberty, Ohio
blank.gif  All the funny faces, silly sounds and word games have served an important purpose...

  Revised: April 12, 1999.