Remembering two things at a time

Why is this important?

Verbal understanding is like a ‘list’ of things/items that need to be
remembered in order to carry out the task. An example of a two-word level instruction is ‘Give doll a banana’ (e.g. children have to remember ‘doll’ and ‘banana’). If children can’t do this, it may be that their auditory memory is not yet sufficiently developed.

What to do

  • Put out four everyday objects (e.g. cup, teddy, pencil, sock).
  • Say ‘Give me pencil and teddy’. Make sure the child waits until the end of the instruction before responding.
  • Hold out your hands for the items.
  • Replace and ask for two different items. N.B. Try to remember not to look at the items as you ask for them, or eye-point during the task as this gives clues over and above the meanings of the words only.
  • Work towards the same aim via different activities:
    ★ Play a shopping game, or put two animals into the field,or two items of clothing into the washing machine, etc.
    ★ ‘Kim’s Game’ is good for developing memory and observation skills and is also great fun. Collect a small number of items on a tray and cover them with a cloth.

Sit in a group where all the children can see the tray. Take away the cloth and allow the children time to scan the items carefully. Re-cover the tray then ask each child which items they can remember. The one who remembers most wins the game.