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Picture Card Tips

Many parents and therapists choose to use picture cards for teaching labeling skills. For very early learners, who may not understand that a two dimensional picture represents a tangible object, this would not be a good choice. Even for older learners, we find that labels are most easily learned when you can create learning experiences around real objects. For example, we were unable to teach Evy the label "Microwave" after repeated trials with a picture card. Then we arranged for him to make microwave popcorn a few times. After just a few experiences in the context of the activity, he learned and maintained the label. Nevertheless, picture cards can help you know when a child has learned a particular label or generalized a label across many similar looking items (e.g. red apple and green apple are both apple).

Picture cards are also very useful for fluency training and REALLY helpful for maintaining a database of what your learner labels and doesn't label. For example, until we probed with the picture cards and found that Evy couldn't label microwave, we didn't know to target it for teaching. If you use picture cards for teaching, please remember to be creative with your picture cards, so that learning is fun and playful and not monotonous. Kids can learn quickly to dread the sight of them.