Picture Prompting

Special Needs Classroom

“How many times do I have to tell you to…?” Have you ever said that? Do you have any children that have great difficulty following routine verbal directions? Sometimes it is not because they are being stubborn, but it may be that they need extra time to auditorily process what you are asking them to do. Using a picture prompt can greatly increase the child’s level of success in following through with your directions, even the first time.

I have used a ring of 2”x 2” pictures a number of times with various children. The images are of routine directions. “Sit,” “Line up,” “Sit on the floor,” “Go to the table,” “Walk,” ”Quiet,” “Wait,” and so forth. You can tailor the cards for each person and make it include whatever directions are wanted.

How do you use them? Well, simply show the child the desired picture as you pair it with your words. You want them to sit down? Show them the picture of the child sitting in the chair as you say, “Time to sit.” Often the fewer words you say, the better the response. As you are walking down the hall and need to stop, or are waiting in a doctor’s office, show the child the picture of “wait” as you say, “We’re waiting.” If you want him to go to the table, show him the picture of the table as you say, “Go to the table.”

While this may seem like a too simplistic solution, I have seen great results through the last few years with my students. I do not use it for everyone, just for those who are struggling. It is amazing the difference between asking them over and over to do something versus asking them paired with the pictures. Often I do get a first-time response, and at worst a second-time response. So, give it a try! You too, might be amazed.

How to Make Picture Prompts

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