The ability to sequence underpins many daily life skills, such as dressing and eating. Sequencing also underpins all language, since language (whether verbal or non-verbal) consists of sequences of movements, gestures, sounds, syllables and words.

Memory is also very important for language development since it involves the storage of information. It is important that we can relate newly received information to information already held in the memory store.

In order to help the pupils’ language to progress, they need to develop skills in all areas of sequencing and memory.

Speech and language is all about sequences

  • Sounds in words
  • Words in sentences
  • Recalling a sequence of events
  • Describing a sequence of actions
  • Following a sequence of instructions

Pupils need to learn the special vocabulary of sequence:

Words such as:

first, next, middle, last, start, next, then, end, before, after, finish

These words can be confusing as they are relative and can be used in more than one context. They can also be used interchangeably e.g. start, beginning, first.

Activities for Visual Sequencing

  • Using coloured bricks or beads, encourage the pupil to copy a pattern of two colours e.g. red, blue, red, blue.
  • Do the same, using patterns of small and large objects, shapes, letters, numbers.
  • Using coloured bricks or beads, encourage the pupil to recognise and continue a pattern of two colours which you have started.
  • Repeat the above and increase the complexity to include a sequence of 3 items/colours, shapes etc.
  • Give the pupil items and see if he can make his own sequence.
  • Use picture sequencing cards.

Activities for Auditory Sequencing

  • Make sequences with all sorts of noise makers e.g. instruments, farm animals. Make one noise for the pupil to identify, and then increase the complexity to a string of two and three noises.
  • Use spoken words and say a sequence, using picture materials as a stimulus. The pupil must find the picture/pictures according to your sequence.
  • Encourage the pupil to make a sequence of sounds for you to identify.
  • Listen to and retell a short story

N.B. It is important to agree with all staff, which terms you will use and be consistent in their use.

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Last updated: 28 October 2015

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