Thursday, February 6, 2014

5 Things to Remember when targeting Following Directions!

Jepi and I are working with clients who have specific objectives that involve following multi-step directions with different terms (e.g. temporal, quantitative, and spatial).

Our goal is to improve a child's overall receptive language skills by providing auditory comprehension activities. We can do this by targeting the building blocks comprising our main goal. “Following Directions” is one of these valuable therapy objectives. It can be targeted with varying difficulty in terms of length of directions (i.e. how many words, critical elements included), as well as specific terms included (e.g.  Before circling three cupcakes, box 4 candies.).

Working with these students, we made sure that we had these in check:

1. Vocabulary: words included in the directions are familiar to the student. We would like to focus on the child being able to retain the instructions and not think about an unfamiliar word. (M. A. Restrepo, Morgan, & Thompson, 2012; Maria Adelaida Restrepo, Morgan, & Thompson, 2013)

2. Rate: how fast we provide the directions is an important factor in this activity. We wouldn’t want to say it too fast that the child can’t catch any of it or too slow that it is unnatural – not how directions are provided in a classroom setting or at home.

3. Intelligibility: paired with rate of providing the instruction/s, they should be clearly said so as not to affect the credibility of your activity/ scoring as well as provide the child with all the necessary details to completely follow the instructions(Norris & Hoffman, 2013).   

4. Pause: providing clients with time to “process” your instructions before actually doing it will help them follow it properly. This is especially important if your directions include other terms (e.g. spatial, temporal). Pausing is not just important for following directions but for responding to questions too (Evans & Kass, 1997).

5.  Signal: a simple “Go!” is enough to (a) provide the child time to process – waiting time, pause, (b) add another layer of following correct directions – “I will ask you to do this activity but you need to wait for my “Go!” signal before you do it, okay?” and (c) improve impulse control especially if the client has a difficult time with turn taking(Torres, n.d.).

There you have it! Taking these factors into consideration, you can be sure to provide a FUN activity for your clients!

You can have these Following Direction activities for FREE!

Snack in a Box                        The Big Game

Thank you for reading!

There’s always a way to make it FUN!


Evans, J. L., & Kass, R. E. (1997). Response Latency and Verbal Complexity : Stochastic Models of Individual Differences in Children, 40, 754–764.

Norris, J. A., & Hoffman, P. R. (2013). Language Intervention within Naturalistic Environments This article has been cited by 12 HighWire-hosted article ( s ) which you can access for free at : This information is current as of September 21, 2013 This article , along with updated information a.

Restrepo, M. A., Morgan, G. P., & Thompson, M. S. (2012). The Efficacy of a Vocabulary Intervention for Dual-Language Learners With Language Impairment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 56(2), 748–765. 

Torres, I. G. (n.d.). Play : Pathway to Improving Language and Literacy Theory and Practice Irene G Torres Hebrew Academy for Special Children Carol Westby.

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