Why is Inferencing and Predicting Important?

By: Ariel Schuman, MS, CF-SLP

Filiatrault-Veilleux, et al. (2016) studied 3-6 year old children and their ability to comprehend inferences. They found that this skill typically emerges early in development, between the ages of 3 and 4. Inferential abilities continue to develop gradually until children are about 6 years old. Researchers have determined that this period, between the ages 3 and 6 years, is important for the emergence and continued development of inferencing and prediction skills. Furthermore, this skill is also important in aiding children in their later reading comprehension abilities.

At the Boston Ability Center, we target inferencing and predicting through various activities. A popular project that many of our clients enjoy involves creating special crafts and/or conducting different experiments each week. Often times children complete these activities with a peer, simultaneously encouraging the development of their social pragmatic skills. As our clients create beaded dragon flies, flour-filled stress balls, pool noodle pumpkins, and countless others, they utilize pictured supports in the form of photographic images. These pictures can help children predict what the next step in the sequence may be. Our clinicians stop periodically throughout the activity to ask clients questions such as, “What do you think we will do next?” or “Why do you think we will need to use a funnel?” These conversations support comprehension of WH-questions, and encourage children to utilize their inferencing skills to make decisions and plan accordingly.

Books are another great way to learn about inferencing and making predictions. Below are also some wonderful books to support your child’s development:


Winter Fun in the Speech Department at BAC

Our speech-language pathologists are having fun using theme based learning with the upcoming holidays and cold, winter weather. This week clinicians focused on winter/snow theme!

Below is a picture of a kiddo who is using his AAC Device to build his expressive and receptive vocabulary, increase length of utterances and utilize prepositions in a phrase. Following language generation, the kiddo placed the item in the wintery scene.

Some kiddos read the story “There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow” (if you haven’t read this book, it is a great one! Lots of choral responses, theme based vocabulary, opportunities for predictions, and more!) After reading the story, kiddos followed directions of varying length and complexity and made a snowman! Not only was the activity a great reinforcer but it also supported expressive and receptive language development.

In-Services in Our Community

On Monday, October 23, 2017, an enthusiastic group of preschool teachers and directors met at the Carter Center for Children in Needham, MA for a workshop. Lauren Alves, Co-Director at the Carter Center organized the evening workshop which was titled From Here to There: Transitions Throughout the School Day. Clinicians, Janet Schmidt, MA, CCC-SLP, Speech and Language Pathologist and Elvira Fulchino, MS. OTR/L, MSW, LICSW, Occupational Therapist, from the Boston Ability Center conducted the workshop.

The focus of the workshop was for the participants to identify and plan for successful transitions in order to facilitate the children’s success throughout their school day. The impact of individual factors on successful transitions, such as, changes in the child’s schedule, routine, sleep difficulty, sensory sensitivities, physical limitations, and language difficulties were also addressed. Interventions such as, using First/Then language, Visual supports, Zones of Regulation and Whole Body Listening strategies to facilitate coping skills in young children were introduced.

The format allowed for large and small group discussion which provided the opportunity for the participants to ask questions, view materials and learn more about specific strategies.

Elvira Fulchino, MS, OTR/L, MSW

Janet Schmidt, MA, CCC-SLP







See below for a link to an article on transitions and additional references:


References: Dewdney, Anna, Llama Llama Misses Mama, 2009, Scholastic Inc. www.scholastic.com

Kuypers, Leah M. Ed. OTR/L, The Zones of Regulation, 2011, Think Social Publishing, Inc. www.zonesofregulation.com S’cool Moves, I Can Calm Myself, S’cool Moves, Inc. www.schoolmoves.com

Wilson, Kristen, Sautter, Elizabeth, Whole Body Listening Larry at home, Whole Body Listening Larry at school, Second Edition, 2016. www.socialthinking.com