7 Ways to Increase Following Directions

The Conversation Corner, By Brook Fieldman

Part 1 of 8 – There will be 2 blogs each week in this series with a night of in-person recap at the end of the month.

How to Increase Direction-following

Mastering direction-following enhances an individual’s ability to navigate daily routines and participate effectively in social settings. Individuals with Down syndrome often face challenges related to cognitive processing, attention, and memory, which can impact their ability to comprehend and execute instructions. Hence, following directions not only promotes independence and autonomy, but facilitates successful participation in various academic and social environments. Overall, refining direction-following skills helps individuals with Down syndrome gain the confidence and power to achieve their full potential. Some ideas for improving and teaching direction-following are detailed below:

  1. Simplify instructions: Use language that is clear (e.g.,“make your bed” instead of “clean your room”)
  2. Visual supports: Provide a visual reference via pictures or diagrams to increase understanding
  3. Modeling: Demonstrate the behavior you want imitated and accompany the instructions with positive gestures; like head nods and facial expressions
  4. Repetition: Repeat instructions and continue to break down steps to solidify understanding
  5. Offer feedback: Make corrections when necessary and detail areas of strength and improvement
  6. Remain consistent: Establish a predictable routine with consistent requests
  7. Celebrate growth: Acknowledge the child’s effort and recognize their achievements

Incorporating these steps into daily life is a crucial undertaking towards developing and improving an individual’s ability to follow directions effectively. I encourage you to be patient and mindful when working on direction-following because growth isn’t linear. Like any skill, direction-following takes lots of time and practice. Thank you for reading.

Submitted by, Brook Fieldman, Augustana Intern

  • Augustana College Class of 2024
  • Communication Sciences and Disorders Major
  • Disability and Asian Studies Minors

Handouts from this blog series can be seen here as they become available.

Join us for a recap night! Family Speaker: Communication & Expectations Monday, April 29th at 5:30

Register using this link.

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