Introduction to Following Instructions

Following Instructions

“Wake up and go brush your teeth.”


“Sit down and eat your breakfast.”


“Go brush your teeth again, get ready for bed.”


These are just some of the many instructions children hear on a daily basis. Hence, it is important for children to learn how to follow instructions, not just for home life, but as preparation for adulthood. A child who is unable to follow instructions at home, will struggle to follow instructions from their teachers, follow rules in a game or even follow instructions from their managers when they become adults.


However, many children with autism struggle to cooperate with even the simplest instructions, like “Sit down.”, let alone the dozens of instructions they would hear every day.


In the Starter Kit Series unit on Teaching Cooperation, the following basic cooperation skills were taught:

  • Foreshadowing
  • Finish Box
  • Follow-Through
  • First Then
  • Following a Schedule
  • Fun Factor 


All these skills strengthen one of the most important building blocks of learning – Cooperation. A child who struggles to cooperate will likely also struggle with paying attention, developing their speech or learning their alphabets.

This Following Instructions series will teach the following lessons:

  1. ‘Come Here’: How to come to the adult when called
  2. Natural Instructions: Everyday instructions like ‘Sit down’ and ‘Stand up’, taught in a natural setting
  3. Teaching Instructions Formally: Teaching the same everyday instructions, but in a structured context, for children who find it challenging to learn in a natural setting
  4. Sitting Nicely at the Table
  5. Nice Hands: Keeping one’s hands to oneself


Of course, no child, autism or not, is perfect – and no child will follow instructions 100% of the time. But life at home can certainly become much easier when a child is willing to follow instructions most of the time when told to.

Your Turn

  1. What are the areas of instruction that you hope your child will be able to follow?

Are these instructions from the list above, or even from the Cooperation series? Take note of them!