Thereare a number of reasons why students may ‘blurt out’ the answer at school or at home.  It may be because they have not yet developed patience and/or turn taking skills.  It may be because they have poor impulse control and they cannot hold the answer in but it maybe because of your eyes!

Students who have Autistic Spectrum Disorders, communication issues or any related disorders may not have a very well developed understanding of eye gaze. 

Many teachers use their eyes to silently communicate which table or person they are talking to when they ask a questions.  We then expect that individual(s) to provide an answer.  Students who struggle to attend to class and/or those who find it difficult to pick up on social cues or gather information from people’s eyes will not necessarily see you doing this or understand it and so may blurt out an answer.

If this is a problem in class, or indeed in a busy household. the easiest thing to do is to use the name of the person you are talking to.  When correcting a student who is blurting out it is important to make it clear that you were using your eyes so that they learn to ‘read’ your eye gaze.  For example ‘I am looking at(student’s name) and I am talking to (student’s name).  I am not talking to you right now.  You may also want to remind them to think and to listen with their eyes as well as their brains and ears.

*Adapted from Michelle Garcia Winner’s ‘Social Thinking’ curriculum.