Prepositions may be an area that require some work for certain learners. Prepositions are parts of speech that relate a noun or pronoun to another word in a sentence. Some individuals with autism may confuse prepositions and use the wrong one, which may lead to communication problems. A good place to start when teaching prepositions is in the form of a mand. When a child is motivated for you to do something with their reinforcer, you can prompt them to use the correct preposition.
If you are holding a slice of pizza in your hand at lunch time, and the child wants it, you can prompt the child to say, “Put the pizza on the plate.
If the child likes playing with water, you may be able to prompt the child to say, “Put the water in the bucket.”
If the child wants an item from a hard to open container, you can prompt them to ask, “Take the toy out of the bin”.
These are just a few situations in which you can teach the use of prepositions in the form of a mand. Remember, if it is truly a mand, motivation has to be present.
Here is another idea for teaching prepositions: If a child is very active and likes movement, and does well with demands, then you might try setting up an obstacle course where you give instructions to the child on where to go. For example, you could set up a tunnel, a toy chest and some pylons in a playroom. Instruct the child to go through the tunnel, around the pylons, and over the toy chest. Vary the order of the items when you set them up, and change the preposition that you use for each item. Remember to reinforce their compliance, and only work on prepositions this way if it is something that the child considers to be fun. Next, you can switch roles and have the child tell YOU where to go!
Ask your consultant whether teaching prepositions is right for your child. It is important not to start this program too early on in language acquisition. The child should have a large mand and tact repertoire prior to starting this.
Some examples of prepositions are listed below:
in front of
on top of