How to teach your child to understand WH questions


 

ANSWERING WHAT QUESTIONS IN REFERENCE TO ACTIONS:  (FOR EXAMPLE: WHAT AM I DOING?)

Asking questions to your little one will help to elicit language….and also will help in their understanding of language……however…you have to be sure of what your expectationsare and what your little one is capable of understanding and communicating.

Let’s start off with the first picture above….you can clearly see that the girl is jumping.  A great strategy to help your little one both understand and use language is this:

Therapist:

As you are jumping…ask your little one: What am I doing?……wait and see if she is able to answer.  Hopefully the visual of you jumping will cue her to say jumping….even if she is not understanding the phrase: What am I doing?….she may answer correctly by saying JUMPING….because the visual gives it away…..now this is not cheating….it is helping your little one to understand language better….because you are tieing your action and words together.

Now if she does not have the language to answer the question….you answer the question for her…..with a simple one word response: JUMPING.  Being sure to change your pitch and inflection…giving your verbal production some melody.

Continue asking simple action questions….remember to choose actions that are familiar to your little one…..here is a list below:

1. clapping

2. eating

3. sleeping

4. sneezing

5. crying

6. walking

7. running

8. Smiling

9. coughing

10. dancing

 

 

Now let’s refer to the second picture above…

ANSWERING WHAT QUESTIONS IN REFERENCE TO OBJECTS: (FOR EXAMPLE: WHAT IS THAT?)

 

In order to help your little one understand WHAT questions (in reference to objects) and also use her language to answer WHAT questions….you can use the strategy listed below:

Therapist:

Find familiar objects in your home….you should use objects that your child is familiar with….so that answering the question is not too much of a challenge.  Point to an object and say: What is that?  Now your child may answer the question and say: BUS….because you are pointing to the BUS.  She may not be understanding the actual question: WHAT IS THAT?  However, the more you repeat this type of question…and point to the object as you ask the question…..the easier it will be for her to answer the question without the visual of you pointing.  So moving forward….she will eventually understand a question like: What is that?……without the visual (you pointing to the object).

Now if your little one can not answer the question…..answer it for her…changing your pitch and inflection…putting a little bit of melody to your answer…with a one word response: BUS.  Questions like: What is that? as you are pointing to the object…are the easiest types of WH questions for your little one to answer.

Remember children learn through repetition.  Continue to practice the WH questions in reference to actions and objects.  And if your child can not speak yet….and can not imitate what she says….no worries….take the pressure off of her…….you do the talking….use the self talk strategy…(find this strategy above on this page:  teach me to talk page).

 

 

 

Remember too…tying music and language together can help promote language development.  Be sure to look to the right of my home page for information on how music can help language.

And of course be sure to search YouTube!

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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2 Responses to How to teach your child to understand WH questions

  1. Amanda says:

    Hi, these are great ideas for teaching children to understand “what”- thanks for sharing! Do you have suggestions for teaching the other “wh” questions?

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