Other Techniques Used with Task Analysis
Chaining: Chaining is the process of teaching one step at a time, and chaining it to the previously learned step. The person with special needs does the steps that he knows, and the teacher completes the activity for him. There are two types of chaining: forward and backward. In forward chaining, the person is taught the first step first. Once he learns it, the person does the first step and the teacher completes the task for him. Then he learns the second step, then the third and so on. In backward chaining, the opposite happens and the person is taught the last step first.
Prompting: Prompting is a method of providing a clue to the person about the next step to be done. Prompting can be verbal or physical. Verbal prompting usually consists of giving a directive command about the next step, and physical prompting consists of guiding the hand or body to do the next step. Most-to-least intrusive prompting is usually followed, which means that the teacher starts with maximal support, such as “apply the toothpaste on the brush," and ends with minimal prompting, such as “did you forget something?" Similarly for physical prompts, prompting would start with guiding the hand, and end with a touch on the shoulder.
Rewards and Reinforcements: Rewards and reinforcements help a person with special needs to stay motivated to do the task. Rewards can be edible rewards, other tangible rewards or even task rewards. Rewards can be given at every step, or at the end of completing the task. A special reward can be given when the person can complete the whole task independently. Rewards must be tailored according to the interests of the person.
Timers and Charts: Timers and charts can be used to assist the person to learn a new task through task analysis. A chart illustrating the various steps can help the person to remember the steps and perform them independently. In some cases, the chart can have columns where they can be awarded a star for completing a step independently. Timers can be used to teach a person with special needs to complete a task within a specified time.
Modifying the Task, Materials or Environment: In many cases, a person with special needs may get frustrated because the task may be too difficult for them, even after breaking it down into small steps. In these cases, the teacher may need to modify the environment, task or materials. For example, to teach shoe lacing, the teacher can teach using a lacing board and a thick firm lace. To teach the task of folding, the teacher can start by teaching the student to fold a pillow cover. In some cases, eliminating distractions in the environment, and providing a comfortable space to work may increase the rate of success.