Giving instructions

By Jennifer Lingle, M.Ed.
Don’t give instructions in the form of questions. This can be a hard habit to break. Now that it has come to your attention, you may notice how often you do this. You will find yourself asking, “Can you sit down and do your work please?” when in actuality you mean, “Please sit down and do your work.” We often feel that telling a child what to do can come across as being harsh, but you actually do your students a favor when you give them direct instructions. You are making your expectations clear, you are letting your students know what they need to be doing, and you are respecting your students’ exact interpretation of your words. Children on the autism spectrum tend to be very literal. If you are asking a question, they may understand that they have a choice in the matter. Don’t be surprised if you get a “NO!” when you ask, “Can you please take out your math worksheet and do numbers 1-10?” Try your best to give clear, concise instructions to get the results that you are looking for.



Happy day to you!

  • Lora Aspiotis
    Posted at 07:21h, 31 January Reply

    Thank you Jennifer for all of your wonderful insight and for relevant information that helps me with my son,Griffin who is turning 11 years old today, on a daily basis. We both live on disability and my only wish is that you could be in our home to work your magic but your online messages, your DVDs, your teleseminars, and your newsletters help me a great deal. I am so glad that I met you through the Autism Society in Asheville last year(I think) and heard you speak, it was so inspiring. I have Aspergers myself so I sometimes don’t communicate well over the phone and definitely not in person (I just do better in writing) but I just wanted to let you know that you are making a huge difference in our lives and that I am very grateful. You are such a blessing to so many people and especially to our children!

  • Lora Aspiotis
    Posted at 07:30h, 31 January Reply

    p.s. Sorry Jennifer, I forgot to mention that my son Griffin is High Functioning Autism and that he goes to a mainstream classroom for 45 mins then for resource the rest of the day. He also has ADHD, Bipolar Disorder but there is some controversy over that because I have recently been told that his symptoms are autism. He is a delightful child and the center of my universe!

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