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Language and Communication Use two key word instructions in everyday activities  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.


Use two key words to tell someone what to do in every day activities.

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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:P5
TAP skill:Expressive Language
TAP level:TAP30
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
Making a cup of tea - telling you what to do

Kitchen with everything appropriate for making a cup of tea. You don't need to have them out and ready though - finding the stuff can be part of the activity.

1. Sit in the kitchen at an empty table and say you want to make a cup of tea - but you don't know what to do (or have forgotten what to do);

2. See if the person suggests getting something - e.g. teabag or cup.

If the person suggests something, e.g. teabag, ask where you can find it. See if they can tell you - e.g. "cupboard" - but if not, give then some suggestions - e.g. "in the cupboard or in the fridge?" - have a look in the fridge if they suggest that.

If the person doesn't suggest anything, give a funny choice, e.g. shall I get a cup or a paint brush - if they suggest "paint brush", get one and then look really confused when you have it - see if they can correct you, or if there is not paint brush to find, look equally confused. Get a cup even if they don't prompt you to get one (as if you've suddenly remembered!)

3. As you go along, try to get the person to extend the language - but don't try to get them to repeat, also try to avoid asking leading questions (for example avoid asking "shall I stir the tea now?"). For example if you have a tea bag and a cup, and they say "cup", indicating that you put something in the cup, put something else in the cup - e.g. a pen. If they then say teabag, do something with the teabag - but don't put it in the cup. At this point they may try to put the two words together, e.g. "teabag...cup". If not, you can give them a choice. Try the following:

"teabag in the cup or pen in the cup" (you might get a response of "teabag" in which case put it somewhere - not in the cup);


"teabag in the cup or pen in the bag"


"pen in the bag or teabag in the cup" (easiest because the target phrase is last).

If the person is not familiar with making a cup of tea already, you should spend some time doing this - talking them through what you are doing as you make the tea.

The key principle here is to give the minimum amount of prompting. You will need to adjust the level of prompting so that the person is a little bit challenged by the task - but not so much that there are long pauses (what constitutes a long pause will vary from person to person).

As far as possible, you are trying to literally do what the person says - so if they say something that's potentially ambiguous, choose a more amusing interpretation of what they have said. The idea is that this activity should be really fun, and also prompt the person to try and add more information and be more accurate.

Everyday activities

Whatever is required for the activity. Activities could include:

  • Cleaning;
  • Shopping;
  • Cooking;
  • Washing up;

Whichever activity you use, the person should be familiar with that activity.

Follow the principles of the activity above ("making a cup of tea") - the person is giving you instructions for what to do - giving you two pieces of information at a time. If you don't get enough information you will be confused and will probably do the wrong thing!

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