Following Directions

Following directions is a crucial language skill and a common goal for speech therapy clients/students. 

However, teaching directions is a bit more complicated than it seems. The key is to diagnosis the WHY the child is struggling. Read on to learn more!

Following Directions - Theory Behind Materials

Since I became a speech pathologist a million years ago, working on receptive language skills seemed odd. How can a therapist differentiate between expressive and receptive language? What is the point? Language is language. 

This goes for following directions as well. You don't just work on "following directions." There is much to it.

 A child who needs to work on following directions may have to work on one or all of the following skills:

  • vocabulary
  • grammar
  • concepts (i.e., temporal, qualitative, quantitative etc...)
  • working memory (this must be compensated for, not "cured")
  • attention (compensated for or treated medically)

It is necessary to evaluate the child to uncover WHY he/she is actually having difficulty with following directions and to target/compensate for that exact skill. 

Following Direction Materials


The main reason a child might not be able to follow a direction could be due to vocabulary deficits. Therefore, you may need to work on tier 1 or tier 2 vocabulary words. 

For vocabulary practice, please check out


Oral and written directions tend to have a lot of specific vocabulary that many children with developmental language disorders need direct instruction on. These concepts include:

  • spatial (i.e., on, under, next to, etc...)
  • quantitative (i.e., many, one, couple, few, etc...)
  • qualitative (i.e., spotted, round, etc...)
  • temporal (i.e., first, before, after, etc...)


The grammatical structure of a direction plays a key role in how a child may understand and be able to execute a direction. Therefore, it is necessary to assess receptive/expressive grammar skills. 

To learn more about grammar, check out my page.


Contrary to many expensive programs, you can't fix memory! However, you can compensate for it. Check out my working memory page for specific ideas. 


Attention is not something a speech pathologist directly targets. However, attention can be compensated for such as fidget use, preferential seating, etc....

Following Direction Materials

I created 5 new worksheets that target each "concept" and one fall vocabulary. Since the stimuli is "fall themed," I categorized it under fall on the membership site. There is a page for:

  • vocabulary
  • spatial concepts
  • quantitative concepts
  • qualitative concepts
  • temporal concepts

Access Materials


First off, if you are already a member of Speech Therapy Talk's Membership site, please head over there. All the materials are up on the site! 


To become a member and access the fall materials instantly (plus 3,000 more), click below. 

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