Teaching "No"

Protesting “no” is a skill that sometimes can be difficult for children with language disorders. Instead of using their words they may:

1. Push objects or people away

2. Throw objects

3. Cry/scream

Here are a few steps you can follow to help your child protest “no”:

Step one: You will need a visual of “no”.


Step two: Most children with language disorders love music. So think of a fun “no” song that focuses on the word “no”. For our younger kids we like to sing “no” to the tune of “Row Your Boat”.

Step three: Practice. Practice. Practice. You want to practice this over and over throughout your entire day within natural contexts: at home, at school, in the car, at the store, etc. So the more copies you have of “no” visual, the better.

Step four: How to elicit this language: Each time you want your child to say “no” do the following:

1. Point to the “no” card

2. Say “no”

3. Sing your “no” song

Remember that every child learns differently. Some children may begin to say “no” after a few days and some may take a few weeks. Here are two important tips: 1) try not say “say no” and 2) while you are working on your child saying “no” to protest (i.e., no I don’t want to play with that toy, no I don’t want you to take a turn, no I don’t want chicken nuggets, etc.), please don’t tell them “no”. Instead of using “no” towards your child, try to use different language like “finished, dirty, dangerous, etc.” Remember right now your child associates the word “no” with something they are doing, not something that they can say.

Once your child begins to use “no,” then you can work on increasing their word length by using the same method as above such as:

“Mommy, no”

“No + action/object”

“Mommy, no + action/object”

Have fun working on the very important social language skill of protesting with your child at home and out in the community!

~KidSpeak, LLC

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