Children with autism need structure and routine to learn. They need a quiet environment free from clutter and too many toys. They need to be given a specific task to do for a fixed period of time. Children with autism usually do not have mental retardation; they are highly skilled in many areas. The right environment, activities and training can help them reach their full potential. Task boxes give the child the support they need in order to learn.
What Is a Task Box?
A task box is a box that contains all the materials required for a specific activity. The child can open it, do the activity, and then put the things back into the box. The activities are usually simple and structured and the child has to perform them for a short time. We can use the same task box consecutively for a few days or weeks until the child has mastered the activity. Activities in the task boxes are planned by the teacher according to the goals and IEP of the child.
How to Make a Task Box
Making a task box is very simple.
First, decide on a goal that you want to focus on. Then plan a simple activity that will help the child to achieve that goal. Collect the materials needed for the activity, make any materials if required. Find a shoebox or a plastic box. Cover or decorate it. Take a picture of the activity and glue it on the cover of the box. Put the activity inside the box, and your task box is ready.
Task Boxes to Improve Attention
Here are a few ideas for task boxes that will improve attention, and concentration in autistic children. These activities are a great way to introduce task boxes for autistic children.
- Beading large wooden beads with a shoe lace
- Making a tower out of wooden blocks
- Placing pegs on a peg board
- Using tweezers to transfer beads from one container to another
- Making animal pairs with little toy animals
- Separating beads of two different colors
Task Boxes for Literacy Skills
Task boxes for autistic children can be used to teach basic literacy skills. Here are a few activities that can be used.
- Matching picture cards
- Matching picture cards to word cards
- Matching letters to picture cards which have the word written on them
- Copying a set of words from word cards
- Copying a set of designs or shapes
Task Boxes for Math
Math too, can be taught using task boxes for autistic children. Here are some ideas:
- Placing stacking cups inside each other ( learning about size)
- Simple one piece puzzles
- Collect a set of small plastic containers. Write a number on each of them. The child has to place the right number of objects in each container
- Write numbers from one to ten on plastic interlocking blocks. The child has to join the blocks in the correct order
- Addition cards where the child has to do a simple calculation and write the answer.
As described above, task boxes can be used to teach a variety of skills. Reward the child with an activity they like after they complete a task box. Once the child gets into this routine, the child will be ready to learn new skills using task boxes. So be creative, and all the best!!
Photo credit: Sharon Dominica