How to Teach Social Language Part 6 – Simple Word Association

Teaching simple word association assist a child with autism or other learning disorder to see and verbalize the relationship between words. It also assist in conversation with others because they will be able to answer simple Why questions or the Why-because questions.

Once we have tackled these concepts, we can move on to develop the child’s critical thinking skills.

I started teaching these activities after teaching C on the following activities for about a month or so:


  • To get the child to see the relationship between words “what goes with what”
  • To build on the child’s ability to answer why questions “Why? Because”

Teach Me Language

Materials needed (adapted from Teach Me Language and guide provided by C’s therapist):


  1. Show the child the empty worksheet.
  2. Explain to the child that we are doing word association, simply, ‘what goes with what’.
  3. Model for the child.
  4. Model for the child.
    I wrote the word ‘wet’ and asked C “What goes with wet?”
  5. C gave the word ‘dry’
  6. I told C, “Because wet is the opposite of dry.”
  7. We proceeded with me asking C, “What goes with dry?” and he would provide me with the answer. We did four of the word association.

Below is the worksheet that I have created and laminated. I allowed some blank spaces below to write the questions as you can see from the image. (C is highly visual and writing down the question helps him to understand the question better. I laminated the worksheet as I needed to do this activity everyday and felt this is an easier technique than writing on paper.)

Show the child the empty worksheet
I use the blank spaces to write the questions I want to ask C.
Some other examples on what I have done with C
Another example on word association done with C.


I recognised that the more we do this, C’s sentence is getting longer and longer. Of course, I did prompt him in the sentence structure but I do believe he understands the task and is getting better at it.

This is a build up lesson from How to teach social language part 2 and How to teach social language part 3 – increasing general knowledge. I have done about a month of those two activities before starting on this word association activity. Additionally, I am also teaching C on finding out about someone alongside with the word association activity.

Other social language related activities that we have done:


How to Teach Social Language Part 7 – Finding out about someone #1

How to Teach Social Language Part 8 – Finding out about someone #2


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