Even today, talking on the phone with Liam requires the person on the other end to do a lot of the talking. It also requires him or her to ask questions and generally keep the conversation going.
My husband is the same way. FaceTime has certainly helped, but generally, talking on the phone is a non-preferred task, even to order pizza.
There’s a lack of “connection” without the face. All of the body language that can also help move the conversation along has been removed. It’s just listening without being able to take the other person’s point of view (Theory of Mind); it’s a strenous exercise in conversational turn taking.
That’s why, when Liam got his first phone call from back home, we were nervous.
A friend was calling to see how he was doing in his new home, at his new school.
We kept Liam on speaker (a strategy we still use), and prompted him when he would “lose interest” in what the other person said. We would remind him of the topic and he would get right back on track.
When there was silence, we would prompt him with a question to ask his friend.
He was happy that a friend called.
We were happy that the conversation went on successfully for five minutes.
It was a new challenge we had not faced. Moving and a kind friend from home made it possible.