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Autism & PDD Answering Questions 2-Book Set
Ages: 3-9   Grades: PreK-4

Bridge the gap between concrete and abstract language with these books that use highly-visual content to help children picture the concepts behind challenging question forms like "what if" and "what should."        


  • Comprehend a variety of question forms
  • Communicate with less frustration
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** This is a Cloud E-Book that is accessible from any device with Internet access. .

Simple illustrations help students understand the logic behind questions and respond appropriately.  Students look at the picture, read the question or statement at the top of the page, and respond.  The complexity of response can range from single-word answers to complex utterances.  Instructions and goals are included to help you fade cues and progress to generalization of the question concepts.

Autism & PDD Answering Questions Level 2 is a continuation of Autism & PDD Answering Questions Level 1 with a subtle progression in content and detail of the pictures.  Both books have eight chapters covering:

  • Describing Feelings—Students answer the question "How does he/she feel?" and identify emotions of hurt, mad, sad, happy, and scared.
  • What Happened—Students answer the question, "What happened?" and explain situations like spilling a drink or a bee sting.
  • What Do You Do When—Students draw from personal experiences or the experiences of others and answer "What do you do when" questions in novel, yet logical ways.
  • Why/Because—Students give logical answers to questions such as "Why is she taking her medicine?" and "Why do people use paper plates?"
  • Going To—Students express predictions and draw conclusions as they answer questions that pertain to related objects such as "Hannah has a rake and a big black bag.  What is she going to do?"
  • What Do You Need—Students name two items needed to complete tasks like washing hands or making a birthday card.  Simple organizational skills like verbal sequencing and basic storytelling are developed.
  • What Should—Students demonstrate beginning logic and problem-solving skills by stating solutions to simple problems like what to do if a glass breaks (e.g., "John broke a glass.  What should he do?").
  • What If—Students hypothesize about events they may not have experienced themselves (e.g., "What happens if you step on gum?"). 

 Autism & PDD Answering Questions may be purchased as a 2-book set or individually.  The 2-book set consists of: 

Autism & PDD Answering Questions Level 1
Autism & PDD Answering Questions Level 2


Copyright © 2006

2-Book Set: each book approximately 190 pages, answer key
  • Many children with autism spectrum disorders learn more readily through the visual modality (Taylor-Goh, 2005).
  • Asking wh- questions is a common method of teaching.  Difficulty answering wh- questions affects a child academically, linguistically, and socially (Parnell, Amerman, & Hartin, 1986).
  • Explicitly teaching and reinforcing inference-making leads to better outcomes in overall text comprehension, text engagement, and metacognitive thinking (Borné, Cox, Hartgering, & Pratt, 2005).
  • Reasoning skills encourage critical thinking and meta-awareness of internal thought processes.  Reasoning skills support students' logical judgments based on conscious reflection and sensitivity to multiple viewpoints (Little, 2002).
  • Reasoning and critical thinking are necessary skills for competence across the curriculum.  They require students to examine, relate, and analyze all aspects of a problem or situation.  Students engaged in critical thinking must make associations that connect problems with their prior knowledge (Pellgrini, 1995).

Autism & PDD Answering Questions incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


Borné, L., Cox, J., Hartgering, M., & Pratt, E. (2005). Making inferences from text [Overview]. Dorchester, MA: Project for School Innovation.

Little, C. (2002). Reasoning as a key component of language arts curricula. The Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 13(2), 52-59.

Parnell, M.M., Amerman, J.D., & Hartin, R.D. (1986). Responses of language-disordered children to wh- questions. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 17, 95-106.

Pellegrini, J. (1995). Developing thinking and reasoning skills in primary learners using detective fiction. Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, 1. Retrieved March 11, 2009 from

Taylor-Goh, S. (2005). Royal college of speech & language therapists: Clinical guidelines. United Kingdom: Speechmark.


Linda Mulstay-Muratore


Linda Mulstay-Muratore, M.A., CCC-SLP, has worked as a speech-language pathologist in private practice since her graduation in 1996 from St. John's University in New York.  She gained her experience with children with PDD/autism and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) while in college working with families in home based educational ABA programs.  Linda now does both consulting and direct therapy for children in early intervention and preschool, writing programs for and working in conjunction with teams of special educators.


Autism & PDD Answering Questions Level 1 and Level 2 were created for children who may have been able to grasp basic Wh- questions, but have had difficulty advancing to comprehending more challenging linguistic and cognitive concepts.  Specifically, children with a diagnosis of autism or pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) often have strong visual and concrete thinking skills, but lack the ability to think abstractly or out of a specific context.  Autism & PDD Answering Questions Level 1 and Level 2 uses simple, uncluttered illustrations as visual prompts and cues to help such children bridge the gap between concrete and abstract language.

Although some children can learn the correct response to these questions simply through rote memorization in discrete trials, allowing a child to visualize the concept provides the opportunity to actually understand the questions and the logic behind the responses.

Instruction Guidelines

  • Children should be able to understand and answer simple who, what, and where questions before beginning this material.
  • If you are using the pictures in discrete trials, you may want to copy and laminate each picture for quick access.  Allow the child to color the pictures as instructed with dry-erase markers so the pictures can be used again.
  • Read the instructions at the beginning of each section before starting.
  • Accept responses as correct if they are appropriate and logical.  Examples of logical answers are listed in the Answer Keys.
  • Model correct grammar and syntax when necessary.
  • Begin training with one target question form at a time.  Once the child masters more than one target question form, intermix these question forms in random order without using picture cues.  The child demonstrates mastery of these forms by answering similar questions appropriately and logically intermittently throughout your sessions and in natural contexts.
  • When applicable, suggested Short Term Objectives (STOs) in data collection for discrete trial training using this book set are as follows:
      • STO 1: Full modeled prompt with pictures in view: Present the picture and read the question to the child.  Provide a verbal model and have the child repeat it.  Advance to STO 2 when the child is able to repeat a correct response with 90% accuracy over 2-3 consecutive days.
      • STO 2: Independent responses with pictures in view: Allow the child time to respond independently.  If the child correctly responds independently with 90% accuracy over 2-3 consecutive days, move on to STO 3.
      • STO 3: Independent responses, pictures not in view: Allow the child time to respond appropriately.  If the child responds appropriately with 90% accuracy over 2-3 consecutive days, move on to STO 4.
      • STO 4: Independent responses, pictures not in view, with question forms in random order: Intermix the target question form with other question forms the child has already mastered.  Allow the child time to respond appropriately.  Mastery of a question form is achieved when the child answers the target question form appropriately when asked in random order with other question forms, with 90% accuracy over 2-3 consecutive days.

    I enjoyed creating these functional language training materials for my students, especially those with autism or PDD.  I hope you find them helpful with your students as well.