Teach me to understand…teach me to follow directions.


Just the other day I had a few questions from parents regarding their little one’s understanding of language and following directions…more specifically…what is a good starting point when working on following directions.  If you suspect that your child is having difficulty in understanding what you are saying to him…how can you work on this skill so that he will better understand language?  To start off….let’s begin with an activity that may seem really simple..but is a good starting point..and this is how I would run a therapy session if targeting a child’s ability to follow simple directions and to eventually understand language and what is said to him.

Gather two of his favorite toys…I find starting with familiar objects works best…why because he is familiar with them…he knows what they are and what they are called…so for example in the picture above..you see my Gregory with his toy car and some blocks.  So the set up for this activity would be to have the toy car and one of the blocks in front of him…as the two of us sit on the floor facing each other…with the two objects between us.

Now the goal is for your little one to understand the phrase: Where is the_______ or Show me the____________ or Point to the__________.

So while sitting with your little one say:

“Where is the car?

Where is the block?

Does he understand what you are saying…now initially he may not understand the language Where is….however….he hears the word car…..and he is familiar with that word/object…because he plays with it so frequently….he has heard you say the word car.  So when he hears you say: Where is the car….he may initially be locating the car…because he hears the word car….but eventually he will just understand the words Where is the…and will generalize to other objects familiar and unfamiliar.  So once you see him following the directions with the words Where is the_______change your phrase and say: Show me the________…….and then change your phrase again to Point to the__________.

You can make the task more challenging by saying: Give me the_________.  Initially you may have to extend your hand when asking him to give you the object…but then you can phase out the visual cue (your hand extended)….and just say to him: Give me the______.


You can again challenge him by adding more objects to the group.

Challenge him again by using unfamiliar objects.

More challenges….ask him to follow directions such as:Put the block in the cup (set up would be: block, cup, car, toy keys)

Challenge: Set up:

block,  car, toy key

also need a table and a chair

Ask him to follow directives such as:

Put the block under the table

Put the car on the table

Put the keys under the next to the car.



Hope this was helpful.  Please post with any questions.



And if you are thinking about camp this summer for your child…I found this to be a great website! Best Camps In Adirondack

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 resource....so 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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