The choice of activity while interacting with the learner is at any time based on the learner's emotional level, his/her motor skills, interests, dislikes and need for repetition.  The adult sets up situations and environments that will foster interactive games such as you push it and I will pull it, or you give me a sound, now I'll give you a sound.  It is important for the adult to be patient and wait for the learner to take his/her turn without trying to persuade the learner to act. Simply be quiet and still. If the learner is trying to complete a motor skill that he/she has not yet mastered but matches his/her motor development, the adult can say, “You can help me.”

If the learner is using his/her hands, the adult needs to provide every opportunity for the learner to familiarize him/herself with the activity and participate.  The learner must be allowed to complete the movement when he/she wants to do it.  The adult can model the activity as close to the learner’s hands as the individual will allow. This allows the learner to have control of his/her hands.  The learner can withdraw them whenever the learner needs to. 

If the learner withdraws or turns away, then the adult may have proceeded too quickly to the stage of interaction, and should return to the stage of imitation or even offering.

A boy and an adult draw on the pavement with chalk.

The purposes of the Phase of Interaction are:

  • to help the child learn dependency on another or several other people
  • to help the learner initiate interactions
  • to enhance the child's development of self-identity
  • to give the child the basis for social development


Interaction collage

Return to Five Phases of Educational Treatment.