Before the family came in to the therapy room, i hid the pictures around the room. After we’d done our listening and learning at the table the 4-year old little learner needed to wriggle. This activity was a fun way to get down from the table and move around the room.
We bombard our little learners with lengthy and complex directions on a daily basis, and in educational settings the directions are non-stop. Put your shoes in your locker and go and sit on the mat. After you wash your hands, line up by the big door. Before you get your lunch box, put the blocks away and wash your hands.
Listening is the core ingredient in a child’s ability to follow directions and there are many parts to the listening process.
The little learner first has to clearly hear what is being said (auditory acuity and perception), and thisnis more difficult with a hearing loss, when the speaker is further away, cannot be seen, or is talking in background noise.
The little learner also has to understand the meaning of the sounds and words (auditory comprehension and receptive vocabulary). Lastly, the little learner has to interpret the collection of sounds and words into a sequence of events and tasks.
What are the building blocks necessary to develop following instructions?
Besides being able to hear the speaker, developed listening ability, receptive vocabulary, and sequencing skills, little learners also needs to be able to complete activities without distraction.
Working memory plays a part in following directions because the little learner has to temporarily retain and manipulate information involved in language comprehension, while carrying out various parts o the sequence.
Start with asking your little learner to do one thing. Wave bye-bye. Blow a kiss. High five.
The next step might be to ask the little learner to take something to someone using a lot of context. Give this to mama. Get your shoes.
Gradually build up the number of things to be done and add more complex language and concepts, aiming for the ability to follow a minimum of 3-step time order directions before the age of school entry. Please put this container on the top shelf between the cereal and the honey after you wipe the sides of it.
On average children at:
1 – 2 years of age can follow simple 1-step directions
2 – 3 years of age can follow 2-step directions
3 – 4 years of age can follow 3-part directions