Working on ‘WH-‘ Questions in Pediatric ABA Therapy

As children, we learn the value of asking questions early on. Questions help us to learn about the world around us, as well as communicate and engage with other people. “WH” questions, meaning, “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” “why,” and “how,” can be especially important to learn from an early age.

These questions allow us to build a foundation for learning new information and understanding new ideas. For example, a toddler point at a dog and ask “what?” to understand exactly what that furry creature is. They might then follow up with more questions to continue learning about the dog. Many of us don’t even remember learning these questions, because they were acquired so easily and without thinking. However, many children who are on the autism spectrum struggle to learn these “WH” questions.

Why are ‘WH-‘ questions difficult for children with autism?
While a WH question may seem easy to a child following a typical development, many children who are on the spectrum do not have the same ability to answer questions and infer information that is not concrete.

How can applied behavior analysis help with answering ‘WH-‘ questions?
An ABA therapist, parents, and teachers can help children with autism to develop their WH questions. One helpful method is supplementing questions with visual supports, such as pictures, in order to provide more concrete information for the child to follow. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy might also incorporate games into teaching WH questions (which also include images and visuals). Visual supports are an excellent way to provide structure and clear expectations for children with autism and can be applied to learning many different skills.

Does your child learn well through apps?
If your child is receptive to learning with the help of an iPad or Android tablet, it may be helpful to try teaching WH questions through an app. This method can be incorporated into other methods during ABA therapy, and an app can also be used in any setting and on the go. An app may also be ideal for some children who are having difficulty with WH questions, because the app allows parents and therapists to present the information as more of a game, rather than a chore for children.

WH Questions (a Teach Speech Apps):

WH Questions Cards:



Are you interested in learning more about WH questions and ABA therapy?
Are you interested in ABA services for your child in the Chicago area? Contact us or call (773) 630-4400 to learn more about the range of services we provide for children who are on the autism spectrum at Chicago ABA Therapy, including applied behavior analysis therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology.