What's the Function! | A Gift of Speech

What’s the function?

The number of words a child knows while important, is not always indicative of their language development or ability to communicate.  Sometimes children can have an extensive vocabulary, but minimal language.  Language development is so much more than just knowing lots of vocabulary, it is about knowing how to use words to communicate functionally and creatively.

FFC – Feature, function, and class

As I evaluate or work with a student, I want to know what can they do with their vocabulary.  Can they expressively or receptively identify vocabulary with FFC.  FFC…What?  FFC is a term that I learned in my studies on Verbal Behavior and ABA.  FFC stands for Feature, Function, and Class.  When I am working on vocabulary,

As I have mentioned before, I love to use real world items and toys in conjunction with printouts and cards.  One of my projects has been to create a function box.  Finally my “packrat-itis” has paid off!  I have stolen my kids fast food meal toys (now they are too old and no longer get them), I pick up bags of miscellaneous toys at thrift stores,  and peruse garage sales.  So what looks like a mix-match of toys is really my function treasure box!

Therapy ideas using a function treasure box!

  • Requesting Activity – Expressive Activity
    • I put the objects into a bag or keep them in their box and have the students ask for items they want to see.  If the child is not motivated by this activity, I will let them know that they will choose 5 items (or whatever number you choose) and then they will get to do an activity of choice.  I will prompt with, “Find an item” or “What item do you want to explore or tell me about”.
    • When the child asks for an item, I typically let them hold and explore the object for a minute or so.
    • Then I ask them what you can do with the item or what the item does.
  • Find it!
    • By object name:  I will call out an object by name and have them find it.
    • By function:  I will give the function of an item and have the child find that item.
  • Group by function
    • I will ask the child to find a specific object, such as a pen.  I will then ask them to find something else they can cut with.
    • I will pull out 2-4 items with a similar function and ask the child to tell me what the objects do or what we do with the object.

How do you work on function to build language?