• Improving Following Directions

    5 Steps to Improve Following Directions
    Problem: Child has to ignore adult’s directions.

    Goal: Child follows every direction.

    Solution: Make following directions the norm by only giving directions that you know that your child will follow.

    Step 1: Identify motivating objects and activities in your home.

    Step 2: Only give your child directions that you know that your child will follow.

    For example: “Drink your juice”  “Eat your pretzel”  “Take the car” “Go outside” “Take the toy out” “Open the box”   “Put the puzzle piece in”  “Throw the ball”  “Push the button (to operate a toy)”

    Step 3: Provide social reward (as well as natural reward) for compliance “Nice listening.” You want the child to know that following directions feels good.

    Step 4: Insert a couple of less preferred directions followed by a natural reward. “Sit down (to receive a snack)” “Come here (holding a treat in view)” “Child’s Name (to receive a toy)” while continuing to give preferred directions.

    Step 5: Insert a couple of First…then directions with reward in view. Give directions: “First quiet hands (then give treat).”  “First put toys in box (then Thomas).” “First wave Bye-Bye (then leave).” “First give me a cup (then juice).” Always immediately provide social and natural rewards.

    Step 6: Compliance builds compliance. Continue to increase the number of less preferred directions while decreasing the number of preferred directions. Always aim for every direction being followed.

    Only give directions 1 time (after having child’s attention). If child does not comply, immediately remove reward.


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  • Creating a Positive Relationship

    How to Enter into the Child’s World

    Act and communicate as much as the child does.

                  Respond to the child.

                  Imitate contacts

                  Communicate for a response, then wait.


    Sensitively and discriminately respond to emerging communication.

    Respond to child’s interest and pace.

    Respond to child’s actions as communicators.

    Respond to child’s nonverbal communication.


    Act and communication in ways the child can do.

    Match actions, sounds and words.

    Show child how next to communicate.

    Be child-like.


    Follow the child’s lead and allow him/her to share in the direction of the interaction.

    Follow the child’s lead.

    Comment more than using questions.

    Limit questions to authentic ones.


    Become spontaneously rewarding by engaging the child more for the fun of it than to get something done.

    Actively enjoy the child.

    Be animated.

    Show child-like play style.


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