Summer Break Activities

Children learn every day. Most learning occurs at home where your child can practice his or her skills at the time when they naturally occur. Summer breaks are a great time to increase your child’s learning opportunities through Natural Environment Training (NET)! Let’s take 2 areas of development and look at 10 minutes in morning…Breakfast!

1) Language: Have your child identify what he/she wants to eat for breakfast by giving him/her two choices. Use pictures if necessary. Now… wait. Wait for your child to look at you. When he/she does look at you, here is a sample of how the dialogue should go:

Parent – Ask, “What should I get?”

Child – Should say cereal, bagel, ect. Whatever it is they are wanting to eat.

Parent – Bring the cereal box over and ask the child to tact (label) by asking a question that is at your child’s level. Examples:  “What’s this” “Where should I pour this?” 

The most important thing is to wait for your child to answer to increase verbal communication.

Now move on to…

2) Daily Living: The best way to start is what is called a backward-chain. Have him participate in the last step before he eats the meal (if it’s cereal, this may be pouring the milk). Ask your child for help to pour the cereal or get the milk. (Tip: pour the milk from the gallon into a small pitcher the night before so he can be independent in pouring). As your child makes progress with this step, have him complete the second-to-the-last step and the last step. This also helps teach your child to remain on task.

Instructional Tip: For any prompted response, do what is called a transfer-trial. In simple terms, if a response is prompted, ask the question again and don’t prompt. If your child responds correctly without a prompt, give him/her praise or other reinforcer. This procedure ensures a child will not become prompt dependent.