Meet Me

Hi all! I'm a self-contained special education teacher from sunny Arizona! I teach k-3rd grade students with Down Syndrome, Developmental Delays, Cerebral Palsy and everything in between. I have a passion for organization, lists, and creating hands on activities for my learners!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Task Boxes- Not Only For Autism

I am a special educator who uses task boxes, but I do not teach in an Autism-specific classroom. My class is cross-categorical and my students have a variety of disabilities, but the majority of my kiddos have Down Syndrome or similar developmental disabilities. A simple online search can get you a huge amount of resources for students with Autism. Finding educational resources specifically for students with Down Syndrome is not always as simple. I usually spend my hours combing through some awesome Autism resources and find gems that I can use with my kiddos.  My favorite thing about using resources for students with Autism in my class is that they focus heavily on building independence skills. Building independence skills has to be one of our top goals for our students. Some of my most treasured finds are the leveled work books from The Autism Helper and the social stories from Simple Special Ed. In an effort to build independence skills in my kiddos, I implemented another Autism classic- the TEACCH task box. My students LOVE LOVE LOVE them! I've started them off with simple fine motor skills, put-in tasks, and assembly tasks. Slowly I've moved my more advanced students to more academic tasks that they have previously mastered.
Getting started was really difficulty for everyone involved- myself, my paras, and my students. My students are mostly kindergarteners (my class is k-3) and are still young. Being so young, they don't have tons of experience completing things by themselves. Training them to complete a task start to finish in one sitting was difficult. In the beginning, there was a lot of wandering, misusing materials, just plain sitting. I found that it took A LOT more reteaching of the concept that I thought it would. When students would leave the work station, I would bring them back, show them the visuals and then step back to see if they needed more direction. It took us a solid 9 weeks to get in the groove, but they are really getting the hang of it. I have loved seeing them become more independent and the best part is that the skills are totally translating to other parts of our day. I notice that some students are needing less help in the cafeteria or bathroom. Their attention spans are slowly increasing during small groups and I really feel like they are happier during work time.

Long story short.... try task boxes. Think outside the "this is an Autism strategy" box. Our job is to foster independence and this has been my most successful way to accomplish that. 


  1. Love this! I also teach in a cross-categorical setting. I have K-3 students. Half of which are in Kinder. I love using task boxes in my classroom. They work to meet all my students needs. I need to better organize them for next year, but that is what the summer is for!

  2. I am in the same exact situation. I find myself going through all the strategies and resources labelled for autistic students and adapting them to my students. I'm glad I;m not the only one!