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Teaching Yes or No Questions

Teaching a child how to say “yes” and “no” is an important skill for safety and communication. Once a child can say “yes” and “no,” they can better communicate their wants and needs. This can help them gain access to items or activities without getting frustrated. 

It can also help in a safety situation. If the child ever gets lost, being able to answer “yes” and “no” questions can help get the child reunited with their parents or caregiver. We know it is an important skill, but you might not know where to start. I have an easy three step process you can follow! 

Step 1: Teaching Yes

I like to start out by teaching yes. This is a great place to start because you can use reinforcing items to teach this. That will help your student catch on faster. If you know the student loves legos, you can ask them if they want legos and teach them to say yes to gain access. Be sure to do this with a wide variety of items. We don’t want the child to think “yes” just gets him access to legos. We want to generalize the word yes across all activities and environments. 

Step 2: Teaching No

Once the student understands yes, the next step is to teach them no. Since we used items that the student wants for yes, use items the student doesn’t want for no. If there are toys like a car the student doesn’t like, this is a great place to start. Have the Legos and the car in front of the child. Offer the car and teach them to say no. 

Food is another great way to work on this. Try having two donuts. One can have sprinkles and one can have broccoli. Offer the one with broccoli first. Try different combinations to help students understand when they say no, they don’t have to access or play with the thing they don’t want. 

Step 3: Generalization 

The most important step of any skill is being able to generalize it. If a student can only use a skill in a specific contrived setting, it won’t be helpful to them in their everyday life. After they have mastered yes and no with preferred items, teach it using novel items. I have the perfect product to help you do that! 

My yes/no task cards were designed for this purpose! The download comes with 60 different task cards working on simple yes and no questions. Laminate the cards and students can use a dry erase marker or clothespin to answer. This is perfect to use in small groups or embed into independent work centers. Grab it here! There is also a fantastic Yes/No digital task card resource in my free resource library!

I hope you got a couple of new ideas to work on yes and no questions!

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