I’ve spent the last few months talking about how I teach WH questions in therapy. Teaching when questions is a little more tricky to teach because they are more abstract. When questions are generally answered by a time word or a reason. Ex. When do you go to bed? (7 pm or when I am tired).
I usually start practicing WHEN questions related to daily routines and general times of the day. Day and night are two easy ways to teach this skill. I usually start by working on day and night. It’s an easy way to start and most of my clients understand that night is “dark” and day is “light” so it is easy to target this skill with a variety of pictures that I already have. Using magazine pictures I might ask, “When was the girl swinging?” and then prompt my client to state in the day.
Teaching When Questions during Daily Routines
- Morning/afternoon/night: Talk about the basic sequences of your day, having your child tell you when you complete it. (Ex. When do we eat breakfast? In the morning.)
- Before/after: I use a schedule when I am working on time concepts and when questions. We can talk about what we did before or what we will do after an activity.
Teaching When Questions using a Calendar
I stock up on calendars at the dollar store at the beginning of the year. We put in specific events and then I can ask WHEN a specific event occurred.
- Birthdays: Talk about birthdays in your family using a calendar. (Ex. When is your birthday?)
- Holidays/Seasons: Talk about when certain holidays or seasons occur. (Ex. When will it be Christmas? When does fall start?) Have your child use the calendar to find the dates.
- Special events: Write down special events/vacations you did on a calendar. Talk with your child about when you did the event, using words: yesterday, tomorrow, last week etc.
Using Fill in the blank to teach WHEN cause and effect questions
Some WHEN questions are answered more with a reason or cause/effect rather than a specific time.
- When do you eat (when you are hungry)
- When do you go to bed (when you are tired)
- When do your put on your jacket (when you are going outside.)
- When will you take a bath (when you are dirty/smelly)
- When do you need an umbrella? (when it is raining)
- When do you put on boots? (when it is snowy).
- When do you need a flashlight? (when it is dark outside)
- When do you study (when you have a test)
- When do you go to the doctor (when you are sick)
- When do you get a haircut? (when your hair is too long.)
Some of these questions can be answered in different ways. I encourage my clients to think of several answers to facilitate flexible thinking. Consider the following answers to the “When do you go to bed question?”
- when you are tired
- at night
- when your parents tell you
- at 8pm
If they struggle with answering WHEN questions I will start by creating a list and having them fill in the blank. (For example, “When do you eat? Tell me: “I eat when I’m _______.” Overtime I can decrease my sentence lead ins until they are able to reply using a full sentence.
WHEN Question Activities
- Snacks or Craft Projects. Simple snacks or 3-4 step craft projects are a quick way to practice WHEN questions related to sequencing. Complete the activity and have your client write down the steps of the activity. Talk about WHEN you did different steps. (Ex. When did you pour in the milk? after you cracked the egg.) Looking for some more ideas? Check out how I use WH questions within my snack activity products.
- School/Classroom Calendar: Post a school calendar or the weekly schedule in your speech room. Talk about when they will have media center, when gym was or when a school release day will be.
- Play a game of Clue Junior. You will need to figure out who ate the snack, what room they ate it in and WHEN they ate it. After the game, you can talk about when the “crime” occurred. You can check it out using my affiliate link by clicking on the page below. (Affiliate links are one way bloggers can pay for the cost of running their site. They pay a small amount of money for sales referred to them.)
This post wraps up my series on teaching WH questions in therapy. In case you missed it, please check out some of my previous posts.
QUESTION: When questions are tricky to teach. What is your favorite go-to activity for teaching when questions? I can’t wait to read about it!