I love working on receptive language skills…at all ages! Between birth and about 11 months of age, when we think of receptive language skills, we look for turning of the head when someone is speaking to him/her, turning towards a noise, and briefly stopping an activity when their name is called. Did you know these are the very early beginnings of receptive language? We then get into following simple commands such as “Give mommy the cup” and pointing to three body parts. All these amazing skills lead up to the more complex ones you might be familiar with in the school setting! When I saw the Autism Helpers receptive descriptor task cards, I knew I had to give them a try! I then thought of all the skills I could practice with my toddlers that eventually lead to these more complex task cards. Of course, with the littles (and even older kiddos) I use a lot of child-led therapy practices in the natural environment to practice these skills!
Starting with objects
With my littles, I am always using whatever toys or preferred objects are in the home to practice skill building. Most of my young toddlers are not interested with task cards quite yet, but you can still work on receptive language skill building! Grab three toys and practice thinking out loud, “Hmm find the cup!” If it is the first time you are trying this, the child might naturally find that familiar object. If the child has a delay in this area, you will need to use some more prompting and could still think out loud, “hmm find the cup” and then reach for the cup and say, “cup” and hand the child the cup. Practice this skill with anything you see within the home or interests them with daycare/the classroom. When reading books you can say, “where is the zebra? and “touch the lion!”. It is also important to expand your descriptive language. For example, move past single word labeling, it’s not just a dog, it’s a small brown dog or fluffy big dog! Try incorporating different descriptors such as big/small, hot/cold, food/drink, fast/slow and so many more! Check out this free interactive describing visual here!
Using the receptive describing task cards
Ahh enter in the receptive describing task cards. The first set with zebra is a basic matching card. I love these and this can be a first step in following a one-step direction of finding something receptively (ie: “find the zebra!”). Next are the receptive descriptive task cards themselves! There are two different levels within the set, 2-desciptor and 3-descriptor cards. With these cards you can have students point to the answer, use a clothes pin, dry erase marker or any other fun way of choosing an answer. This set of cards combines feature, function and category vocabulary. I always like to model how to use the cards and then practice through taking turns in a small group or using them as independent work once mastery has been achieved! Check out the videos below of the activities in action! You can find these descriptor cards here! Happy Describing!