Teaching Following Directions for Older Students

Categories: /
Age Group:
Resouce Types:

Simplify it as Much as Necessary:

Figure out how far back you need to go for the child to be successful at following directions.  Two-step basic directions?  One-step?  Practice at that level for a bit to help the child understand that you are working on following directions.

Figure Out what Types of Directions the Child Needs to Follow:

Talk to classroom teachers and ask what types of directions are needed in class (written directions on assignments, verbal directions during class, directions using concepts like before and after, etc.)

Create a Continuum of Directions to Follow:

Once you know where the student is and where he needs to go, create a continuum that represents all of the types of direction-following that you’re going to practice with the student.  How will you get him from where he is now to where he needs to be?  You may have to pick one type of following directions as your goal for now.


Currently able to: follow one-step directions

Needs to: follow directions with “before” and “after”

  1. Follow simple one-step directions
  2. Follow simple two-step directions with visual aids
  3. Follow simple two-step directions without visual aids
  4. Follow “before” directions with visual aids
  5. Follow “before” directions without visual aids
  6. Follow “after” directions with visual aids
  7. Follow “after” directions without visual aids
  8. Follow mixed “before” and “after” directions

Create Activities to Practice Each Type of Direction Following

  • Play a game like “Simon Says” where you take turns being Simon
  • Follow directions before taking your turn at a game
  • Follow directions that help you assemble a craft or structure
  • Follow directions that lead you on a hunt around the school
  • Follow directions that help you complete a worksheet or activity