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clear and specific instructions that are likely to be understood and acted upon.   Commands explain what the care-giver’s expectation is in a way that increases the likelihood of it being followed.  Example, “Please put the dirty clothes on the floor into the hamper” rather than “Clean your floor.”  Sometimes commands are used to set limits on a child’s behavior.  Example, “Come home by 10:00 p.m.”  Rather than “Don’t be out late.”

What should my therapist be doing?

  • Describing how to give effective instructions
  • Explaining the importance of giving effective instructions
  • Practicing this new skill with your child

What should I be doing?

  • Practicing this skill in and outside of therapy session
  • Praising your child whenever he follows instructions correctly
  • Asking questions of your therapist as needed (e.g., Why didn’t my child listen to this specific direction that I used with him?)

How will I know if it is working?

  • Your child follows instructions more often
  • Protests and other non-compliant behaviors occur less often
  • There is an overall improvement in your relationship with your child (e.g. as your child becomes better at following instructions, you become less frustrated with him).