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Examples of questions at Blank Level 1 – Naming

What are Blank Levels?

Your child is developing their understanding at Blank Level 1 which means that they are learning to apply vocabulary and language to things in their environment (naming).

Your child is not yet able to describe, talk about events or stories and problem solve, for example, infer, reason, and answer ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions about pictures and spoken scenarios, information and experiences. This also applies to their emotional understanding.

Strategies to support understanding at this level

  • Use single words to label objects  and comment on the ‘here and now’, for example, “ball”, “water”, “outside”, “more”
  • Offer choices with visual support, for example, “apple or biscuit?”

Examples of visual support you could use

Ideas for activities to try

  • 1 key word level activities
  • Lotto boards
  • Feely bag
  • Treasure hunts (depending on joint attention)


  • Phrases more than one word long such as “kicking ball”
  • Concept words such as big and small
  • Wh- question words such as who, what is it, what doing, where, what like?
  • Questions asking for a recall of an event such as ‘what happened?’
  • ‘Why’, ‘how’, ‘when’ questions, for example, ‘why did you do that?’, ‘how did that happen?’

Classroom learning ideas

  • Pre-teach noun vocabulary using a simple vocabulary mat
  • Use matching lotto games
  • Play sorting games – sort pictures into ‘what’ and ‘who’
  • Work on listening comprehension such as ‘Point to…’, ‘Find me a …’ – Use anything where the child can see a picture representation e.g. vocab mat, picture book, video clip, real object.
  • Work on talking and naming, for example, ‘What is it?’ – response can be a spoken word, choice of a picture or Makaton sign.

Examples of questions at this level

Try to match your questions to what your child is doing.


Widgit of home corner

Home corner

  • What is this?
  • Find me a cup
  • Find another one like this
  • Where is the teapot?
Widgit of water play

Water play

  • What is this?
  • Find another one like this
  • What did you see in the water?
  • Where is the boat?
Widgit of snack time

Snack time

  • What is this?
  • Which one is the banana?
  • What are these called?
  • What are you eating?
Widgit of farm


  • What is this?
  • Where is the pig?
  • Find me the tractor
  • Where are the ducks?
Widgit of playground

Outside play

  • What is this?
  • Find me a bike
  • What did you hear?
  • What did you see?
Widgit of playdough


  • What is this?
  • Find me another one like this
  • Where is the rolling pin?
  • Where are the cutters?
Widgit of sandpit


  • What is this called?
  • Find me a bucket
  • Where is the spade?
  • Find another one like this
Widgit of story


  • What is this called?
  • Where is the… ?
  • What did you see?
  • Find me the…
Widgit of dollhouse

Dolls house

  • What is this called?
  • Find me another one like this
  • Where is the bath?
  • Where are the chairs?
Widgit of garage

Car mat and garage

  • What is this?
  • Where is the fire engine?
  • What did you hear?
  • Find the police car
Widgit of literacy

Literacy or English literature

  • Name items, real or pictures, such as ‘What’s this?’
  • Find named items, such as ‘Show me the…’
  • Finding matching items, such as ‘Find another like this’


  • Name items, real or in pictures such as shapes, angles, mathematic symbols
  • Find named items
  • Finding matching items
Widgit of science


  • Name equipment
  • Find equipment by name
  • Match pieces of equipment with others that have the same function
Widgit of technology

Design and technology

  • Name equipment
  • Find the ruler
  • Match one tool with another that has the same function
Widgit of geography


  • Name items, real or pictures and so on
  • Find named items
  • Finding matching items such as ‘find another sign-post or contour line like this one’
Widgit of history


  • Name items, real or pictures and so on
  • Find named items
  • Find matching items

Blank Level 1 – Recognising and naming emotions

1. Understand the behaviour

Behaviour can often be a sign that there is a problem, for example, your child running out of the room or flapping their hands may be a sign that they are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or not sure what to do, and lashing out or hitting someone may be your child reacting to unexpected change or behaviours around them. It is important to know the specific non-verbal signs your child shows and what this behaviour means for your child.

An emotional regulation profile and a positive behaviour support plan is helpful to identify patterns and signs that your child might be showing.

It would be helpful if you consider:

  • Non-verbal signs of an emotion such as sad, happy, angry, worried, scared
  • Strategies and tools that help each emotion and these may be different for each emotion
  • Patterns and events which cause an emotion

Zones of Regulation is a useful framework for this.

2. Provide predictability and regulating strategies consistently to maintain your child’s emotional wellbeing

To avoid dysregulation in their environment and what is being asked of them. This will reduce their anxiety and support their independence in the classroom. Examples include:

  • Visual timetables and now and next boards
  • Transition supports such as object of reference, symbol support and a countdown timer
  • Regular sensory breaks
  • Model activities and what is expected of them so that your child can see what they are expected to do

3. Adults to coach emotions and behaviour with Blank Level 1 strategies in the moment

Coaching in the moment is important. Your child is not yet at a stage where they can apply knowledge of emotions to abstract scenarios such as characters and historical events.

Children can apply and learn the words best when they hear them in the moment as they will be feeling the emotion making it very real.

  • Reduce the length of your sentences – use only single words as it will be difficult for your child to take in lots of spoken information when dysregulated
  • Teach the emotion word by labelling how your child is feeling in the moment such as “you are sad”
  • Show them the matching emotion symbol card
  • Mirror their facial expression so that they can see what you see
  • Provide a regulating strategy by modelling, for example, give them a hug or take them to their blanket
  • Provide a choice visually with objects, for example, show them their blanket and sensory toy
  • Provide a choice visually with symbols, for example, show the strategy choice side of emotional regulation card with photo or symbol of the soothing strategy
  • Ask additional questions related to emotions and behaviour such as ‘why did you do that?’ and ‘what should you have done?’ as at this stage these are too high level for your child to understand and may lead to further emotional dysregulation due to your child feeling overwhelmed.
  • Name or show symbol cards for an emotion that they are not feeling in that moment in a bid to support them to transition to that emotion, for example, “happy” when they are sad, crying or dysregulated. This will confuse your child.
  • Use negative statements such as ‘don’t run’ as this linguistic concept may be too advanced, instead tell them what to do such as ‘walk’.

One to one or small group work in school is not recommended for a child of this language and communication level. The focus at this stage should be to support your child to recognise the feeling in themselves and the word for the emotion in the moment.

You should label the emotion word when the emotions are apparent in the environment using pictures and people around them, however it is important that the emphasis is put on the child learning about their own emotions at this stage.

For more information please contact the Speech and Language Therapy Service at Flockton House.

Telephone: 0114 226 2333
Email: scn-tr.slt-sheffield@nhs.net

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: SL280

Resource Type: Article

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