3 NEW SHOEBOXTASKS® FOR 2008

The Subtleties of Autism: As parents, friends and teachers of children with autism, most of us will agree that structure is an important ingredient in creating opportunities for success. From individual work sessions to the environment itself, organization and predictability can help ease an anxious situation.

As parents, friends and teachers of children with autism, most of us will agree that structure is an important ingredient in creating opportunities for success. From individual work sessions to the environment itself, organization and predictability can help ease an anxious situation. But at what point does structure and routine turn into the beginnings of rigid behavior patterns? There is no one answer but as we take time to pause and bring awareness to the situation we are more than likely to be able to sort out some of the subtleties of behaviors.
 

Because Centering on Children also functions as a vocational workshop for people with autism, we can observe first-hand if the employee and the job are a good match. We continue to look for ways to improve upon the physical organization of the environment, providing the visual structure necessary for workers to assemble and package the materials successfully and independently. Likewise, the designing process of ShoeboxTasks® follows the same line of thinking. We ask ourselves:  

  • Is the purpose of the task visually clear, with an understandable beginning and end?  
  •  Is there anything that could become a stumbling block for a student using the task?  
  •  Is the task attractive and appealing?  
  •  Is there some motivating appeal?  
  •  Are we continuing to look for ways to maximize independence and positive behaviors while expanding areas of interest and   accomplishments?

 

We know that students with autism often have routine ways of doing things. By consistently presenting work from left to right or introducing a schedule that reads from top to bottom we can use this tendency as a positive. A learned routine can then become a strategy that benefits both student and teacher. Contrastingly, routines that stem from a child’s rigidity can inhibit the learning process. Doing something in the way one always does something can be limiting. By helping the student to accept new ways of doing things the experience broadens and hopefully it translates to other areas life.

 

twister-lg.jpgTWISTER (Task No. 35):

Unlike most of the other ShoeboxTasks®, Twister does not have a clear ending point. The student gathers a chain around a dowel by twisting the dowel. The chain can either come from the other dowel, to which it is attached, or from below the lid where it appears out of a small hole when the student twists the dowel. This latter presentation may be more motivating for some students. Because Twister encourages the use of each hand, it is an excellent fine motor exercise.
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Bullseye-lg.jpgBULLS-EYE (Task No. 36):

A precursor to folder activities, Bullseye requires the student to match 4 puzzle pieces to a jig. Completed puzzles form either a square, a circle, a triangle, or hexagon. Bullseye models an effective way to structure puzzles enabling young students with organizational challenges to work more independently.
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variations-lg.jpgVARIATIONS (Task No. 37):

  The student uses 3 different manipulatives in 3 different ways: matching to a picture, dropping into an equal size opening in the lid, and either clipping or stacking the remaining manipulative. This task helps the student understand that one object may have a number of uses or “variations on the theme.”
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