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Improving Communication Skills

Reciprocal Conversation

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Purpose:  To help individuals with communication and social deficits to understand the back and forth nature that is the basis of a reciprocal conversation

Real Life Examples

Talking with peers about a video game


Talking about a homework project


Talking about the new procedures at work


  • Read the social article with your student paying close attention to key words highlighted in blue.
  • Demonstrate how a reciprocal conversation is like a game of catch by throwing a ball back and forth as comments or questions are made about a specific topic.
  • Have students practice this slow and deliberate way of experiencing a reciprocal conversation with teachers, parents and peers.
  • Create a game by picking a topic out of a hat and spontaneously engage in a reciprocal conversation about the topic.
  • Use the cloze quiz (fill in the blank) to assess the basic facts about having a reciprocal conversation.
Using this social article provides information about the “structure” of a reciprocal conversation.  The analogy of the game of catch and practicing a slowed down version of a conversation should help students with communication deficits to “feel” the reciprocity that they often overlook by not paying attention to the speaker or thinking other topics while they are speaking with someone.