Task Analysis – Why is it important?

While putting on my shirt in the morning, I don’t think about any steps; I just do it.  When I’m working with clients on the spectrum, tasks that may seem simple to you or I can be challenging to the child.  During ABA therapy, we use something called task analysis to break down complex tasks into smaller, easier steps.  One of my favorite things to teach our clients to do is a “self-help” target.  These targets give our clients more independence, which both the parents and children love!  The task of putting on a shirt can be broken down into eight steps; set shirt on flat surface, find tag, put shirt with tag side up on flat surface, find 3 holes in shirt, put arms into arm holes, put head into head hole, lift shirt up, raise arms, and finally pull shirt down.  Didn’t think it was that many steps did you?  Breaking down tasks into smaller steps is essential in making sure our clients have the prerequisites, or prior conditions required to complete these complex tasks.  The look on the clients’ faces when they finally are able to do something independently the first time is so gratifying.