Thursday, March 4, 2010

what works

Despite many efforts designed to help Martin get through an afternoon of bowling with his classmates, he had a really hard time. He simply could not take turns. He had been told he needed to take turns. He had been talked through what it would be like to take turns. He acknowledged that he needed to take turns. But when the time came, he just couldn't do it. When I picked him up and asked him about his day, he said, "I didn't take turns."

We've tried many things to help Martin gain this skill. We've played very simple games in which turn-taking - not the game's content - was the point. We've created social stories about taking turns. His teacher had the brilliant idea of giving participants a number. It might not make sense to Martin that Josh goes first and then Rebecca and then Chaz. But if Josh is number one and Rebecca is two then the process might be easier to understand.

Maybe the problem is that Martin just loves bowling too much? When he plays, he stays close to the line all the time. He grabs for the ball the moment its crosses the threshold of the return ramp. He grabs the ball and spins around to push it off at shoulder height. There's not a moment reserved for looking down at the pins or positioning his feet. It is about throwing the ball as hard as possible as many times as he can.

Martin was sad after he arrived home today. He whimpered for awhile. He seemed truly befuddled by it all. It's as if he cannot comprehend why he would have to take turns when there's a whole bowling alley full of lanes, when there are rows of balls for all to see, when it seems that every child should be able to throw to their hearts' content.

I'm still trying to figure out what might work in this situation. I want to know what little trick I need to try. I want to use it to help Martin understand. And then he can bowl forever, as far as I'm concerned.


  1. Taking turns, and waiting is a difficult one to get, but sounds as though you are doing all the right things, so hopefully in time he will get there.

  2. A thought would be to have a hat etc that said "whose turn is it?" and the one who is up is to wear the hat or whatever. This is tough to learn. If you want to send me the teacher's email I will send her a "my turn" visual that might help if the hat idea is a flop:)Leanna