How to teach your child to understand spatial concepts

My four kids…in the pool


The post below is prompted by a question that was posted on my FB page…..a mama had stated that her child has a difficult time in the understanding of certain spatial concepts….although she did not use the term spatial concepts….she indicated that her little one has a difficult time in the understanding and use of words such as: next to…..behind…besides….etc…..(and these words  happen to be spatial concepts)….so I am hoping that this post is helpful to the mama with the concern….and to others as well…

Teaching your child to understand spatial concepts such as: in, on, out of, & off (concepts learned between three and a half to four)….and spatial concepts such as: under, in back of, next to, & in front of (concepts learned between four and a half and up to five and a half)….can only be taught…in my experience….through the use of the strategy I coined: READY, SET, ACTION!  I use this strategy frequently during therapy when I am working with a little one presenting with receptive language difficulties or auditory processing difficulties. 

Drill and practice WILL NOT WORK when addressing the understanding of spatial concepts….by this I mean…if your child is only hearing you say things such as: put in the cupput on the table…..put under the table….put next to daddy……put in front of daddy……these words to a little one presenting with receptive language difficulties will not have meaning to her…as the language is too complex for a child that has receptive language difficulties (and by this I mean that she is having difficulty in the understanding of language).  So if you handed her a block….for example….and said…..”put under the table”…….if she is NOT understanding language….well…in my opinion….you could have said the sentence in Mandarin…or in Spanish….and you most likely would get the same response….she will be unsuccessful in completing the language task….because she has no idea what you said…

So………READY, SET, ACTION!………….means that you are going to tie your words with your action…..if you want her to put the block in front of daddy… it with her….take her hand….and as you are saying the words: put in front of daddy…..put the block in front of daddy… the easier spatial concepts listed above…..address the easier spatial concepts until mastered…..and then move on to the next set of spatial concepts listed above.


I love to use the game HYPER DASH to target spatial concepts… can look under my speech therapy toys page in order to find more information about HYPER DASH….and of course when I bought HYPER DASH I purchased through using their one click ordering….making life soo easy.

Remember…..words and action tied together will help your little one to understand language so much better than just hearing words…..

Hope this was helpful…..keep the questions coming!

And remember to have fun with your little one or big one!



About Kim

My name is Kim Marino and I have been practicing as a licensed speech and language pathologist since 1993. I work on Long Island providing diagnostic evaluations and services to children from birth to age 21. My experience is vast and am proud to say that I work with children that may present with articulation and phonological concerns, oral motor feeding concerns, Down Syndrome feeding, cognitive rehabilitation, auditory processing delays, receptive language delays, cleft palate feeding and sound development and expressive language delays. Most importantly, I am the mother of four amazing children and am happily married to my childhood sweetheart. I feel blessed to have my four children and so lucky to share this journey in life with my husband. I always had it somewhere in my head that I wanted to develop a blog or a website of some sort so that I could provide families with an additional that parents could help their little ones become a better communicator. And as I was developing this blog....I realized that I also needed to share the stories about my life and my children....and the funny things along the way that help to keep me smiling. Whether you are a working mother or not...finding balance between home, children and life can be a challenge....I hope that my blog helps to bring a smile to your face..and also some tools to help you help your little or big one. I hope you enjoy! Kim
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