Sequence - (v) 1. to place in order
(definitions provided by http://www.dictionary.comweeblylink_new_window)
Sequencing is part of our everyday life. It's a shame that many of our kids have such a hard time with sequencing events and its another reason to target this activity in therapy or at home. You can see that sequencing is not just knowing that baking the cookies comes after stirring the ingredients. We use it when: we alphabetize, remembering important dates/events, understanding cause/effect (and punishments), etc. We also use it unknowingly when we get ready in the morning. Typically we know each other's routines (or sequences). I know my husband will take a shower and get dressed before eating breakfast. Therefore, I know that when he gets out of bed, I typically have 15 minutes to make something for breakfast (if its not too early and I'm feeling particularly sweet that morning).
I know that sometimes its hard to have the kids in the kitchen when you're getting dinner ready. However, it's a great "teachable" moment. Get out your apron, ingredients, kitchen tools, and your camera! Your camera? Yup! Your camera. Let your kids get involved with as many steps as possible. Take a picture of each step. When you are done, you can either look at the pictures on the camera to talk about the sequence of the steps or you can print them out and make a book. Don't have a camera? That's ok! After it's all said and done, have your kids draw a picture of each step. Once the drawings are completed, you can cut them out and make cards so the kids can put them in order or create a book. Having your child write "captions" for each picture is another great way to work on expressive language, grammar, and spelling!
If your child is a:
- Pre-talker: make sure to narrate each step and really focus on what you are doing.
- Early language: focus on the vocabulary for each step. Show your child the item and name it. Let him/her hold the item if it is safe. Experiencing things with all 5 senses is important (but always keep safety in mind). Make sure to keep the sequence steps to about 3-5 steps. You don't want to overwhelm the child. Simply get them to understand that there is a sequence of events and we can't possibly eat the dinner before we cook it. :o)
- Elementary/middle school language: Start off with 4-5 of the pictures to sequence. If your child is able to sequence those, then add in more pictures and see how specific he/she can be in putting things in order. If there is some down time, give your child a few of the labels from the boxes (either write out the names or actually cut out the labels if the boxes are empty) and have him/her alphabetize them. If you more than one child, time them and make it a game! You can also give your child one item or one picture and ask for a detailed description.
- Articulation: Pick out words with your child's speech sound. Depending on his/her level of proficiency (and your speech therapist's recommendation), have him/her say it as a single word, in a phrase, sentence, reading, or conversation. You can always pick out sounds that have been mastered to make sure they are still being articulated correctly.
- Listening: If your child is new to listening, let them listen to all the different noises in the kitchen (water running in the sink, spoon banging on a bowl, kitchen timer going off, mixer being turned on and off, etc). Make sure to tell your child what he/she will be listening to ("Let's hear the water in the sink"). Then wait for him/her to hear it and then point to your ear and say, "I heart it! I hear the water in the sink." If your child has been listening longer, have your child close his/her eyes and listen for a sound. After the noise has been turned off, let your child guess as to which noise he/she heard.