We design tasks to eliminate any possible frustration the students may experience when trying to complete them. Because the items in these examples are large and chunky, they are easier to pick up. Because all pieces are contained and stabilized in the shoeboxes, there is no confusion about how to set up the parts. Because the individual items are organized in bins or on a post, they are less likely to fall from the desk.
Such organized tasks also lead to independence. The materials define what the students are to do.
Clarifying beginnings and endings of tasks eliminates the desire of some students to undo the work they just finished. Having materials disappear into slots emphasizes the finish aspect.
Often when designing tasks for our beginning students, we add a sensory component to make the task more interesting to them.
In this activity, the items students are to push through the opening have different textures.
In this task, the plastic shapes make a clanking sound when hitting the bottom of the tin can. Students enjoy memorizing a sing-song phrase to say along with the action. “Clink! Clank!”
After our beginning-level students can complete tasks requiring them to place objects into openings, we often design this type of sorting task for them. Here, the students must figure out which object fits into which opening. Because the cylindrical spool will not fit into the horizontal slit for the buttons and the buttons will not fit into a round opening, the students must think about what they are doing. They must sustain their attention to a problem as they use trial-and-error methods to make the objects fit. Focusing attention in order to problem-solve is an important skill that can be generalized to other tasks as the students make progress. Learning to complete such a simple put-in task has valuable implications for our students.
Our Tasks Galore series of books will aid you in designing activities for all developmental levels. We address all areas of curriculum whether academic or self-help.
Be sure to check out our website and please share this blog with your friends! You can find us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter too!
As always, a portion of our proceeds go to organizations helping people with autism and their families.
We wish you a very Happy New Year!