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Language and Communication Request a desired item  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.


To be able to request a desired item (e.g. food) from a choice of two or more.

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Early years skill:not specified
Early years typical range:not specified
P-scales/Curriculum skill:English Speaking
P-scales/Curriculum level:P4
TAP skill:Expressive Language
TAP level:TAP24
Pre/Nat. Curriculum Area:not specified
Pre/Nat. Curiculum Standard:not specified
Section:Secondary (11-16yrs) info; Post School Education info; Adult info
Activity/strategy name and materials required How to do the activity Key principles for doing the activity and comments
Snack time
  • Choice of food items in small pieces - e.g. pieces of banana, orange or crisps - which the person is interested in having;
  • Something not interesting to the person - e.g. a piece of paper;
  • Pictures of each item (e.g. a picture of a banana, a crisp and a piece of paper).
  1. Offer a choice of food items, or a choice of a food item and the "boring" item (if the person doesn't mind which food item they get);
  2. Ask them what they want giving a choice, e.g. "Would you like some banana or a crisp?" (Stress the underlined words and also sign them);
  3. Respond to what you understand the person has communicated - giving them that item.

See the comments on the right as to how to respond to some typical situations.

What to do in common scenarios

The person points at or tries to take the item.

Hold or place the items in such a way that they can't easily take them and so that even if they point it is not clear which one they are choosing (once you know - and the person knows you know - which one they want simply now asking them to repeat what you had hoped they would have requested is much less powerful for learning).

The person always asks for the last thing you said (e.g. always asking for a crisp):

Try reversing the order of the choice you give them;

If they don't seem to care which one you give them, give them a choice of a desirable item and a boring item - saying the boring item last - then respond to their request for the boring item. To stop frustration, you might need to quickly follow this up with another go where you only offer them one item (the desirable item);

Encourage them to point to a picture to show you which one they want - then reinforce this by signing and saying the word.

General strategies

Model the asking and requesting with someone (e.g. other staff) to show what you are hoping people to do.

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