[Source: SpeechBlog UK]
Negatives are a really important thing to understand and always a high priority for me to target if a child is struggling with them. If you don’t know that there’s a difference between “push” and “don’t push” you can immediately see that it can lead to all sorts of problems!
The first thing to do if you think your child is struggling with negatives is to pick apart exactly what is causing the problem. It may be that they don’t understand the words no or not. However, it might also be that the sentence is just too long and they are only understanding or remembering part of it. So in the sentence “don’t open the door” they just focus on “open the door”. Finally, it may be the contracted form of the negative that is causing confusion. So, they may understand “do not” but not realise that “don’t” is the same. They may understand “can not” but be confused by “can’t”. Try a few different instructions of different lengths and different types of negatives and see if you can work out where the confusion is.