Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales
painting by Katie Bergenholtz

Association Method and Present Progressive Language Sentences

Alex is still having a great deal of trouble with the content of prepositional sentences. He understands the structure of such sentences but even though we have been working on these sentences since the beginning of March, no progress has been made. He has the sentences that answer prepositional concepts memorized, but once you get to simple descriptive stories about various rooms in the house, the stories are too long and varied for him to memorize. He, therefore, cannot answer the questions correctly because he does not have the linguistic content of prepositional phrases within sentences. This should not be a surprise to me as this is where he hit a wall when we were doing Applied Behavioral Analysis. The next question is what do I do now? It seems pointless to continue with prepositional sentences. Even though the guide we are using advises not to go on to the next concept until the previous concept is fully mastered, I believe that is the direction I should go at this point. Autistic children are very scattered in their pockets of learning, having the ability to master more complex concepts while the simplest ones sometimes are impossible to master. I will continue with the prepositional sentences by asking simple questions in the format of prepositional Round-Up stories both verbally and thorough copywork, while at the same time begin work on present progressive language sentences.

The introduction of present progressive concepts include the word construction and question language, "The ____________ is/are _________ing" with the question form,"What is/are _______________ doing?" I will use picture cards with a single ongoing action. The first pictures will illustrate only the noun+verb construction. When this concept and construction is learned, I will add a direct or indirect object.

Teaching Language Deficient Children, DuBard


  1. I wonder if you took pictures of him doing different things, and had him construct the sentence if that would help. I remember doing an activity like that back when I was in 5th grade with prepositional sentences (the bear is in the middle of the flowers, the dog is under the basket, so on and so forth, and drawing the pictures).

  2. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment with suggestions. These are really great suggestions, too! We did take pictures of him doing various things and used the appropiate prepositions when we were using ABA without any success. This was six years ago, when he was in second grade. We have been working on prepositional phrases some ever since then, but this has been the first time I have worked on it in a concentrated, systematic way. Abstract concepts are so hard for autistic children. He doesn't understand "to be" verbs either. It is so hard to explain these concepts that normal kids just pick up naturally. Your other suggestion of having him construct sentences from the pictures is a idea I had not thought of. I think I will give this a try this week. I will let you know what happens. Thanks again for the suggestions!


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