The one who gives a monologue:
This client has the opposite problem of the one who needs to be interrogated. If I ask anything about their weekend they start at 4 pm on Friday and give me a blow by blow account of every single thing they did. "I got on the bus and I sat with Tommy and we talked about how I didn't think we should have homework over the weekend and he agreed and we both said homework is stupid and then I got home and I was hungry so I had a snack so I walked up 10 steps to the kitchen and I saw that my sister was there and I told her that she needed to get out so I could have my snack and play mine craft with my online friends because we all love mine craft and......" If I let them, they would probably keep talking until the end of the session. These are usually my clients who tend to have very specialized interests (Minecraft, Lego's, Star Wars, Trains, the inside workings of air conditioners...) They can usually speak at length on their preferred topics.
Here are some of the challenges these clients face and a few activities to address them.
Limited Perspective Taking Skills: These clients also need to work on perspective taking. They have a hard time choosing what information needs to be shared and what information can be inferred. For them, we focus on shared knowledge. We use visuals to talk about what shared interests or knowledge they have with their peers/teachers. This can help them start to think about what and how much information they would need to share with different people.
Poor Turn Taking Skills: We spend a lot of time talking about how we take turns within conversations. We practice taking turns sharing 1-2 sentences worth of information. Sometimes I use a balance scale and pom poms to help them visually see how many turns they are taking. We may work on throwing a ball back and forth as we are talking. This is another quick way to visually reinforce the idea that conversations are a series of turns.
Poor comprehension of main ideas vs. details: I find that a lot of these clients tend to focus more on the details vs. understanding the main idea of what they are trying to say. Some of these clients seem to focus on the "irrelevant" details-for instance the client who perseverates on the FBI warning before a movie. We work on identifying main ideas vs. details and discuss the importance of sharing our "main idea" with our listeners.
Summarizing deficits: Once we are able to identify main ideas vs. details, we start working on summarizing. We might have conversational rules that we can share a story or information but we want to start with the main idea and then we can share (only) 2-3 fun facts about our topic/interest area. It's fun to use movie trailers to address summarizing. Watch the trailer and have them restate it in 1-2 sentences. (I think this is an action movie that is about fighting in outer space.)
Do you have great strategies or activities to use with students who share TOO much information? Share your stories and successes below. Check back next Monday to read about the one who you need to a flow chart to understand.
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