In addition to his intellect and personality, this little boy had autism. For him, this meant that he occasionally had difficulty playing with others. He would sometimes pick the favorite instrument, even though he had already played it, and his friend hadn’t had a turn.
The little boy’s difficulty with sharing sometimes made the grown-ups around him have to remind him to take turns. He never refused to do what they asked, but he did not think it fair since he grabbed the instrument first and would sometimes become upset or cry as a result.
Each week in music therapy, the little boy responded to the therapist’s requests that the children take turns in many different activities.
In the first few weeks, the little boy wanted to be first in every game and would pout if the therapist selected someone else to go first.
A few weeks later, the little boy began to volunteer his other friends in the group to go first. He would also help the therapist to remember who went first in the groups before, so that everyone had a turn.
The little boy was improving greatly! He was letting his friends take their turns, and volunteering to let them go before him without a pout or a tear! However, the little boy still had difficulty sharing his favorite instrument. Some days, he was safe because his friends didn’t want to play with it, but others, his cries of “I call it!” were followed by the sounds of disappointment from a friend, and the therapist had to remind everyone to share instruments.
Until one day, the change that came over his turn taking came to his sharing. Upon his calling of his favorite instrument, and the subsequent “awww” from his friends, he turned to the friend, held out the instrument, and said “That’s okay. You can play it first and then I’ll have a turn.”