Giving Commands to Children with Communication Difficulties


Giving good commands is the first step to helping a child follow directions. Here are a few suggestions for making your commands easier to understand and to follow:

1. Make sure your child is paying attention to you. Call out your child's name and wait for him to look at you before telling him what you want him to do or not do. If necessary, go over to him and touch him on the shoulder. Get down on his eye level when giving the direction.

2. Give your child one command at a time.

3. Make sure the command is clear and simple so that your child can easily understand it. It may be helpful to have your child repeat the command you just gave is he is able.

4. Be sure that your child is actually capable of responding to your command-Is he able to do what you are telling him.

5. Be direct. Don't ask your child to do something, tell him.  Unless he actually has a choice in the matter. We often say to our kids, "Do you want to take a bath now?" The correct response to that QUESTION would be a "yes" or "no".  If there really is not a choice then say, "Time to take a bath."

6. Be consistent. Try to present the same command using the same words each time and expect your child to follow through each time you give the command. Think of all the ways you might tell your child to come to dinner ("Dinner time." "Come to the table." "Let's eat."  Kids with language challenges need to learn one phrase first and then ad others later.


Try some of these strategies with your child and let us know how it works.


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