Grammar Discrimination & Generalization {Parts of Speech}

Children with autism can often learn new concepts quickly when given multiple exemplar training, repetition, and reinforcement for correct responding. However the difficulty lies with teaching our students to generalize and discriminate. This month I have been focusing on identifying nouns, verbs, and adjectives in my reading group. We incorporated angry birds and fruit ninja to make it fun and engaging (get the free printables in those links!). My kids had a blast and seemingly quickly mastered each topic. However once we work on discriminating between nouns, verbs, and adjectives – the flood gates of confusion opened up.

Spend Extensive Time Teaching and Practicing Discrimination 

In your lesson planning and scheduling – make you really allow a substantial amount of teaching time to ensure that your students can discriminate between concepts. Teach the “far off” discriminations – two words or concepts that are completely different but also teach the “close in” discriminations – two words that are actually quite similar. So the difference between cry and sad? Which is the verb and which is the adjective?

We did a lot of practice and activities to work on discrimination between nouns, verbs, and adjectives.

The Autism Helper

The Autism Helper The Autism Helper


The Autism HelperThe Autism Helper


Directly Teach Generalization of Skills 

Teachers and parents sometimes assume that once a student can accomplish a skill within a structured task or learning center – they can do it everywhere. WRONG. Our students need to be directly taught how to use this skill in other environments. You need to plan for teaching generalization. There are a lot of great activities out there to make teaching generalization fun and engaging – which it should be! Generalization is using the skill in your real life.

The Autism Helper

We did a really fun activity to work on generalization of noun/verb/adjectives. I photocopied a page in a book and we used different colored highlighters to color code the parts of speech. Color coding + generalization + a literacy task = ugh, have I died and gone to multi-tasking teacher heaven? Love it! It was challenging but my kiddos did great 🙂

The Autism Helper The Autism Helper

The Autism Helper  The Autism Helper


  1. Thanks so much for this post! I was actually working on lesson plans last night and wondering if I was spending too much time on individual concepts. Will definitely be adding in some more discrimination tasks. I was already planning to use classroom objects to show both the noun (i.e. lamp) and verb (shine).

  2. Love that lamp idea!

  3. Love the color coding task! We are also working on parts of speech, though I haven’t added adjectives yet. I have your angry birds and fruit ninja activities, plus several of the ones from your october lesson plans on deck for this month. Thanks! My kids are having a really hard time with the generalization. Today one of my students did awesome during direct teaching with finding verbs in sentences, but in his reading centers time, he could not sort nouns and verbs at all without major prompting. I think we will be working on this for awhile…..

  4. Yes! Same here – this will be an ongoing focus! It’s so tricky for them!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *