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Functional Vocabulary for Activities of Daily Living Adult Out & About
Ages: Adults   Grades: Adults

Fortify adult clients with relevant and appropriate vocabulary so they can participate in their communities.  Each book uses true-to-life photos and simple stories that engage adults with ASD and developmental disabilities.


  • Use basic, highly functional vocabulary for everyday living
  • Comprehend basic text
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** This is a Cloud E-Book that is accessible from any device with Internet access. .

The books cover topics critical to adults who yearn to participate in community activities.  The simple syntax and repetitive story lines aid in comprehension of the text.  Each 8-page story targets eight core vocabulary words.  Close-up photos of the target vocabulary are used in the story.  The same photos are at the back of the book where they can be copied and used in the suggested extension activities.  Cloze sentence activities with picture supports stimulate expressive vocabulary.  

The books give several teaching options:

  • teach vocabulary in isolation
  • teach vocabulary in the context of a sentence and in a story
  • familiarize clients to new situations
  • match photos to the story pages
  • use as a basic reader

Each durable book (with coated pages) targets a community activity especially relevant to adults.  The 5-book set includes:

  • Bridget Works At the Supermarket—Learn words like supermarket, time card, supervisor, paycheck, and more.
        Every two weeks, Bridget gets a paycheck.
        She works at the supermarket.
  • Casey Goes to the Movies—Learn words like ticket, screen, counter, seat, and more.
        Casey watches the movie on the big screen at the front of the theater.
        He goes to the movies.
  • Colton Goes to the Beach—Learn words like ocean, beach towel, suntan lotion, cooler, and more.
        Before Colton goes in the water, he puts on his suntan lotion.
        He goes to the beach.
  • Josephina Goes to the Drug Store—Learn words such as drugstore, pictures, pharmacist, prescription, and more.
        Josephina takes the prescription to the pharmacist.
        She goes to the drugstore.
  • Mei Eats at a Restaurant—Learn words like menu, salad bar, debit card, server, and more.
        Mei fills her plate from the salad bar.
        She eats at a restaurant.


Copyright © 2012

5-Book Set: each book 15 5" x 7" coated pages, extension activities
  • Snowling & Nash (2006) demonstrated that individuals learning vocabulary within a written context are more likely to generalize and maintain their skills over time than individuals learning vocabulary through a definition method.  This supports the use of written narratives and stories for teaching new vocabulary words.
  • The use of visual supports to support common activities throughout the day (Hume, 2008) and social narratives to use stories with pictures to introduce new activities (Collet-Klingenberg & Franzone, 2008) have both been shown to be evidence-based practices for adolescents by the National Professional Development Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders through reviews of the research literature.
  • Carnahan, Basham, & Musti-Rao (2009) and Carnahan, Musti-Rao, & Bailey (2009) found that interactive books could be instrumental in increasing the engagement of children with multiple disabilities in group activities in the classroom.

Functional Vocabulary for Activities of Daily Living Adult Out & About incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


Carnahan, C., Basham, J., & Musti-Rao, S. (2009). A low-technology strategy for increasing engagement of students with autism and significant learning needs. Exceptionality, 17(2), 76-87. doi:10.1080/09362830902805798

Carnahan, C., Musti-Rao, S., & Bailey, J. (2009). Promoting active engagement in small group learning experiences for students with autism and significant learning needs. Education & Treatment of Children, 32(1), 37-61. doi:10.1353/etc.0.0047

Collet-Klingenberg, L., & Franzone, E. (2008). Overview of social narratives. Madison, WI: The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin.

Hume, K. (2008). Overview of visual supports. Chapel Hill, NC: National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, The University of North Carolina.

Snowling, M., & Nash, H. (2006). Teaching new words to children with poor existing vocabulary knowledge: A controlled evaluation of the definition and context methods. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 41(3), 335-354.


Christine E. Reeve, Susan Kabot


The sister of an adult with autism, Christine Reeve, Ph.D., BCBA-D, has more than 20 years of professional experience working with children, families, and schools focused on autism.  As the founder of Reeve Autism Consulting, she consults and trains school districts on serving students with ASD and serves as adjunct faculty at Nova Southeastern University.

Susan Kabot, Ed.D., CCC-SLP, is the executive director of the Autism Institute at Nova Southeastern University, where she has spent 25 years directing programs for young children with autism.  She is the parent of a 31-year-old son with autism and advocates for those with developmental disabilities, serving on the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council.  She is a member of the Panel of Professional Advisors of the Autism Society.


These books are designed to help adults with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities use basic vocabulary functional to their everyday lives.  You can use them to generalize isolated vocabulary words into literacy activities relevant to the lives of adults with disabilities.  The pictures are specifically designed for adults with subject matter that relates to their stage of life and types of activities.  You can also use them to introduce new situations in individuals' lives for familiarity with the vocabulary for a similar upcoming event.

Introduce the book by reviewing the target vocabulary on the previous page spread.  You might teach the vocabulary to some adults in isolation using only the pictures before introducing them within the context of the book.  Read the text of the book and have the adult select the appropriate picture to match the photo on the current page.  If you are working with an individual or with a group, have each individual choose between two photos, eventually expanding the number of choices, depending on the individual's ability.

Record the repetitive sentence (she works at the supermarket) on a speech-generating device (SGD) to allow nonverbal individuals to participate in reading the book.  They can then hit a switch to say the last line on the page.  Program individual vocabulary words on an SGD so an individual can use the switch to say the relevant vocabulary word as the reader reads each page.

A cloze technique summarized version of the book is included so individuals can fill in the blanks with the target vocabulary.  You may also want to cover the photos to encourage the adults to answer without cues.  If you program the individual words on an SGD, nonverbal individuals can use a switch to provide the correct word.

This book is also an excellent basic reader for functional vocabulary.  Adults can read each page and find the matching photo to demonstrate comprehension.