Teaching communication skills with Ready-Steady-Go games

articles May 11, 2022

(Photo 228218828 / Child © Aaron Amat | Dreamstime.com)

Teaching communication skills with Ready-Steady-Go games.

Ready, steady, go games help develop your child's listening and attention skills and early communication skills.

In today's blog, I outline the benefits of Ready-Steady-Go games for young children with autism, so you can use these activities to help them develop early communication skills at home or in the classroom.

First, let's look at what skills children learn while playing Ready-Steady-Go games.

Listening Skills
Ready-Steady-Go games encourage children to pay attention and listen to your voice.

Young children may not understand words yet, but this game will encourage them to pay attention to what you are saying, your tone of voice and notice how you speak and pause.

Anticipation Skills
As children learn language, they learn that language can help them anticipate what will happen next.

By listening to you saying "ready, steady…" they learn to anticipate that the word for "go!" is next.

If you see your child ready to run once you have said "ready, steady…" it means your child is already anticipating what's coming next.

Language Comprehension
You don't have to wait until your child understands the meaning of "ready, steady and go" before playing this game. Your child will learn the importance of these words as you practice the game.

With practice, your child will realise the meaning of the words. When you say "go", it's time to get going!

Joint Attention
Joint attention refers to two people paying attention to the same thing.

Joint attention can be tricky to learn for some autistic children, but you can use Ready-Steady-Go games to practice joint attention with your child.

Start with simple games, such as tickling. Say "Ready-set-go!" and then tickle your child. Make sure it's fun for them. Continue playing this game, and make sure you pause for a few seconds before you say the word "go" and tickle your child again.

Playing simple games like this helps your child practice focusing on a task with you.

Ready-Steady-Go games also teach children to wait: they must stay still until they hear the word "go".

Young children will need support waiting. You can hold hands with them or use a picture or hand sign to reinforce the instruction "wait".

For kids who struggle with waiting, I start by saying, "Ready… go!" so they only have to wait a couple of seconds.

Waiting can be difficult for some children, so keep waiting to a minimum to avoid the child losing interest in the activity.

Language Expression
Once children are familiar with this game, I start introducing a longer pause before saying Go!

This gives children an opportunity to respond by themselves and fill the gap.

Some children may attempt to say "go", others may do a hand sign, and others will make eye contact with me before they run.

No matter how your child responds, praise their effort for communicating.

As your child gets familiar with this game, you can consider expanding vocabulary by adding new words, such as "ready-steady… run/jump/throw/push…"

Some ideas for Ready-Steady-Games

  • Racing games.
  • Small sliding cars.
  • Jumping game.
  • Going down a slide.
  • Pop up toys/wind up toys
  • Knocking down a tower of blocks.
  • Roll a ball
  • Throwing bean bags into a container
  • Skittles

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