My post about teaching your child where questions was a big hit so today I’m going to write about answering who questions!  This 5-step process should help you with just that!

Who Questions Step One: Who’s This? (Self and Caregivers)

To start teaching who questions we will start with simply asking “who’s this” when pointing either at your child, yourself, or another caregiver.  These are the easiest type of who questions to answer, but be prepared that it might take your child a while to learn this if they have trouble with identifying people’s names.  When you ask “who’s this” and point to your child, you want him to say his name.  If he doesn’t say his name, you can say it for him and have him imitate it.  Then, point to yourself and say “who’s this?”.  If your child doesn’t answer, say “Mommy” or “Daddy” or whatever you call yourself and have him repeat it back to you.  Keep doing this until he can spontaneously say your name, his own, and other caregivers if there are any.

Who Questions Step Two: Who’s This? (Pictures of Familiar People)

The next who questions we want your child to answer are “who’s this” with pictures of familiar people.  Choose photos of people that your child comes into contact with frequently.  Children that he sees on a regular basis would be good but not distant relatives that he sees once a year.  However, if you have a distant relative that is highly offended that your child doesn’t know her name, you may want to throw her picture in to practice! J  Put a picture in front of your child and say “who’s this?”  Start with pictures of you, your child, and other caregivers.  When he can spontaneously name each of those pictures, start adding in other familiar people.  Just as in the last step, you may need to say the name for him and have him repeat it for a while until he gets better.  Once you do that for a while, try giving him shorter cues such as saying just the first sound or syllable in the name and see if he can come up with the rest of it.  Keep doing this until your child is able to spontaneously name all of the pictures you have.

Who Questions Step Three: Who’s This? (Community Helpers)

Now that your kid can answer who questions about familiar people, try who questions about community helpers.  These are people like firefighters, policemen, doctors, mailmen, etc.  Print out pictures of these types of people from the internet (Google Image search for community helpers or community helpers coloring sheets).  Put one in front of your child and say “who’s this?”  Have your child say the name of the community helper or say it for him to imitate.  Keep doing this in the same way as the above steps until your child can answer who questions with a wide range of community helpers.

Who Questions Step Four: Who does…? (With Picture Choices)

Now it’s time to move on to some more difficult who questions. Other types of who questions you could ask include questions like “who do you go see when you get sick?” or “who brings the mail?”.  You could also ask who questions about recent events in your child’s life, like “who brought you to school today” or “who made your breakfast”.  The idea is that you want to ask who questions that go beyond just “who’s this”.  For this step, do this with some choices in front of your child.  To start, lay down two pictures of people in front of your child.  Then, ask a question that would be answered with one of those people.  For example, lay down a picture of you and a picture of a firefighter and say “who puts out fires?”  Now, as long as you haven’t been lighting and putting out fires in your child’s presence, he should pick the firefighter.  If not, help him point to the right picture and say the name of that person.  If your child really has trouble with this concept, try just putting one picture choice in front of him until he gets the idea of the activity and then add the second back in.  Once your child can answer these questions with two picture choices, increase it to three.  More choices makes it more difficult.  Be prepared that this step may take a while for your child to learn.  Keep increasing choices until you have 4-6 choices in front of your child and he is still able to answer them.

Who Questions Step Five: Who Questions about Things Not Present (No Picture Choices)

Now that your child can answer a variety of who questions with picture choices, it’s time to take away the pictures.  Just ask your child random who questions and see if she can answer them.  The more questions you ask, the better she will get at this.  Try asking these who questions in the car while you’re driving somewhere or while waiting in line somewhere.  The great part about this step is that you don’t need any materials. However, if your child is really struggling with this, you can always bring the choices back out.  You could also give verbal choices if she’s stuck on a particular question.  For example, if you asked “who puts bad guys in jail” and she still can’t come up with anything, you could say “do you think it’s the police man, astronaut, or Mommy?”

There you have it!  5 Steps to teaching who questions.  It’s very straight-forward but it may take some time so be patient.  As with all speech and language skills, it will be well-worth your hard work if your child can learn this skill.  Don’t forget to head over to my speech therapy materials page and check out my file folder games designed to teach your child to answer questions!

Where to Find More Info:

This guide, along with 38 others, is included in Ms. Carrie’s E-Book: Speech and Language Therapy Guide: Step-By-Step Speech Therapy Activities to Teach Speech and Language Skills At Home or In Therapy.  This guide includes detailed information on teaching various speech and language skills, including this one, along with worksheets, handouts, sample IEP goals, data collection, and video demonstrations.  For more information, click the button below:

Speech and Language Therapy Guide