On October 19, Dr. Dana Reinecke presented “10 Things to Know Before You Leave Home (And How to Learn Them)” at Transitions’ “Strategies to Build Independence for Students with Autism, ADHD and Other Learning Differences” conference. Her presentation covered basic skills that are more challenging for young adults with autism and other learning differences and strategies their support network can use to prepare them to perform those essential tasks on their own. We would like to share what we learned from Dr. Reinecke in this series of posts.
It is very important to take care of one’s clothing and always look neat, clean and professional to be taken seriously as an adult and employee. Skills needed in this area include sorting, washing, drying, folding and putting away clothes.
Chaining is a strategy for teaching multi-step tasks. Individuals learn tasks and the sequence they need to do them in to complete the job.
Forward chaining – learning the steps of the task in chronological order, mastering the first step completely before moving on to the next step and so on until the task is finished.
Backward chaining – learning the last step first and going backward. Someone else shows or helps the individual with every step until the very last one so they see the end result and work
Total task chaining – learning and practicing every step at the same time. This method is typically used whenever there is a safety consideration, such as when learning to drive.
Task analysis – a list of steps involved in completing the chain. A recipe is a task analysis.
Objective 1: Sort laundry
Use the total task method. Create visual cues such as labeled baskets to help the individual separate clothes by color and fabric type.
Objective 2: Wash and dry clothes
Use the forward chaining method. Provide the individual with a step-by-step process for selecting a cycle, adding detergent, putting the clothes in, etc.
Objective 3: Fold clothes and put them away
Use the backward chaining method. Have the individual put the clothes in the drawer after they watch you fold them. Work backward from there until the individual has mastered folding.
We hope these tips and strategies are helpful to you. Please remember that these are generalized examples and all goals, objectives, teachings and support strategies should always be individualized to see beneficial results. Feel free to mix and max strategies discussed in each post to fit the person you’re teaching. Everyone learns differently, so being flexible and working from individual strengths is absolutely essential in teaching these skills.
Good luck and check this blog again on Wednesday for the next installment in this series.