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: