Using Task Analysis Charts: A type of Visual Schedule

After my Facebook Live on Visual schedules, I thought it would be helpful to give you some more information about one of the types of schedules we discussed: task analysis charts.  Here is a past post that I hope is helpful!

Are you tired of repeating yourself? Do you have to tell your kids the same thing 100 times a day? If this is you, I urge you to try these handy charts!

Task analysis looks at all the necessary steps it takes to complete an activity. It breaks down the task into manageable chunks. Think of it like a recipe. 

Some things I use task analysis for in my home:
Brushing Teeth
Using the restroom 
After school procedure
Getting ready in the morning 

For us, it seems like these times a day often lead to nagging. Did you rinse the toothpaste out of the sink? Don't forget to put the toiler seat down!

 Hang your backpack on the hook. 

These situations can easily turn into a power struggle. Instead, we put our kids in control by having THEM follow the task analysis charts. These visual charts work wonders, because children respond better to visual instructions versus verbal instruction. This is especially true for children with communication delays or children on the autism spectrum.
1. Determine the activity that you want to use. 
2. Write down the specific steps to complete the activity. How specific you are depends on the age and ability of your child. A morning routine actually consists of several tasks, but for my (then*) 8 year old daughter I combined all the tasks for one chart.

 For some children getting dressed could be a chart all on its own. 
  • Put on pants
  • Button pants
  • Put on shirt
  • Put on socks
  • Put on shoes
  • Tie shoes

3. Create the chart. Find clip art, draw pictures, or take photographs to illustrate each step. I prefer to pair the picture with the written words. This aides in reading development and keeps your prompting consistent.  I used Boardmaker symbols (this subscription can be expensive, check with your child's intervention specialist or speech therapist to see if they have access to these symbols).

4. Introduce the chart. Show your child the chart. I would suggest doing this in a calm moment. Do not try to introduce a new "Get Ready for School Chart" when you have woken up late and are dangerously close to missing the bus. Show the chart to your child the night before. Tell him/her that in the morning you are going to play a game to see if he/she can get ready without Mommy saying a word. Role play that night.  Talk about each picture and what it means. Point to the steps as your child carries out the action.
5. Implement the chart. I suggest using a system of least-to-most prompts: Verbal, gestural, model, physical prompts. First start with verbal prompts, because it is the least intrusive.  If needed, move to the next type of prompt.
Verbal: What is the next step on your chart?. 
Gestural: Point to the next step.
Model: Show the child how to do the step.
Example: Show the child how to put the toothpaste on the toothbrush.
Physical: Hand over hand help the child put the toothpaste on the toothbrush.

 I post these charts in places that the children can see and access independently. The toothbrushing and bathroom charts are posted on the mirror in the bathroom.  The "After School" chart is posted on our door that leads in from the garage (right beside where I want the kids to hang up their coats).

Have other routines in mind?  Send me a message, and I would be happy to help you!

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