Sunday, December 16, 2012

Listen to Every Word - Understanding Negation

Have you ever considered the power of the single word "NOT" or how a "contraction" changes the meaning of a statement or conversation?

True Story: Years ago, I saw a boy for auditory rehab who was late implanted. He was eager for his first sleepover and had invited two brothers as I recall from his public school. We discussed his upcoming slumber party in great detail during our session. He had the evening planned from the games they would play, their snacks and he picked out his favorite movie. 

The next week, I began eagerly asking about the party and his Mom gave me "The Look". 
I could tell the party must not had gone as planned. Worse than I imagined, the best his parents could piece together was when he has invited the brothers to the sleepover, they had responded by saying, "We can't come."  Being a new listener, he missed the negation and interpreted their reply as "We can come." and the party was on!

After that sad situation, I  target "listening for contractions" and include the word "not" in connected speech activities or auditory directions. Most children catch on quickly but I learned my lesson!

Contractions and negatives modify the meaning of spoken language, tend to be unstressed, are embedded in connected language and difficult to hear for our children who are hard of hearing. The next listening level after focusing on "not" is having your child follow the directions by listening to the contractions such as "Where is the nutcracker that isn't skinny."  or "Which reindeer doesn't have a red nose?". I'm sure you can think of examples at home. "Give Grandpa a gingerbread cookie that isn't broken." 

Click here HERE for a free Christmas Themed printable: Understanding Negatives.

By the way, this is a great target for children with auditory processing needs as well.

Many thanks for this printable to Whitney at

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