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Thinking Inside the Box (Part 4): The Tasks

Submitted by on 06/07/2009 – 10:21 pmNo Comment

The Tasks: Referred to as “TEACCH Tasks,” “Shoebox Tasks,” or “Work Tasks,” the learning activities presented to students in their work areas have characteristics that optimize the learning of children with autism. The primary purpose of the task is to increase independence, fluency and generalization of skills already acquired. Since the goal is independence, the teacher seeks to minimize prompting while the student is in the work area.

Each task provides visual instruction: borders that define the task area, a

Visual Task 2

Two Color Sort Task

clear sequence and obvious cues for completion. Irrelevant or distracting features are minimized. The types of tasks are determined by the developmental level and degree of indepence of the learner. Beginning learners may complete simple “put-in” tasks. The main purpose of “put-in” tasks is to teach the motor sequence required in the work area. At advanced levels, children use folders, binders and worksheets to complete complex academic tasks within a structured environment. Between the put-in tasks and the folder tasks is a progressive sequence of skill development outlined in “Part 5: The Curriculum” of this series.

Teaching the Tasks: The first step in teaching the tasks is to ensure that the student has the skills to complete it at a table with the teacher. For example, the beginning student learning to complete the “put-in” task is first given the task (a container of objects to put in and a container to place them). Both containers should be framed within a larger container, that defines the border of the activity.  The teacher works from behind the student and teaches with motor prompting (if possible). Initially use “hand-over-hand” for the first object, then point to the second object (gestural prompt), or hand it to the child to put in. If the child stops after that, 0po

Sample Work Station Tasks

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