Objects of reference

What are objects of reference, why are they important and how can you use them?

What are objects of reference and why do we use them?

What are objects of reference and why do we use them?

Objects of reference are physical objects or items that can be used to represent an activity, event, place or person.

• Using objects is considered to be the most concrete way of representing a word

• They can be used with children who struggle to understand spoken words, photos or symbols

• Objects of reference can also support those with multisensory impairment, autism or learning disabilities

• They are used to label any routine or activity, helping your child prepare for that event

How to use objects of reference

How to use objects of reference

• Give your child the Object of Reference right before the activity/ event it represents

• If your child has multi-sensory impairment, you could use an object that has a strong smell or a distinctive feel, or, if your child’s hearing is intact, a particular sound could be chosen (e.g. the beginning of the song Granny always sings to your child)

• Use simple, clear words alongside the object and make sure you keep you language consistent every time you show your child the object

• Don’t worry if your child doesn’t notice or hold the object initially

• The aim is for children to learn over time that the object represents an event