Task planner for autistic young people
The ability to organise, sequence and prioritise helps young people to plan their activities and manage their time effectively. However, some autistic people may find this difficult. As many students are learning at home, without the support of their usual school staff and resources, we have found some students asking for help to organise their schoolwork. As one student put it so well,
“My schoolwork feels like a big jumble of spaghetti on a plate.”
An autistic person may have difficulties with processing lots of information at once, understanding the concept of time, multi-tasking and putting ideas in the right order, amongst other things. However, many autistic people we support have fantastic visual strengths and strong logic. Task planners tap into these strengths and support young people to break tasks down into:
- the things they will need (e.g. pen, textbook, A4 lined paper, ruler etc.)
- what they need to do (i.e. breaking the whole task down into steps)
- anything else they need to remember (e.g. when to submit their work)
- how long to work for
This particular task planner also has a space to plan a reward/treat when the work is finished, supporting the young person with motivation. This only has to be something small for a few minutes once the work is completed and should be chosen by the young person if they are able to make appropriate choices. Common rewards that students we work with have chosen include ten minutes on their phone/tablet, ten minutes drawing, a hot chocolate, time with a pet, a snack or a chat and cuddle with a parent/carer.
Please keep in mind that every young person is different, and you may need to modify this example to suit the person you are supporting.
You may find that some young people like using task planners and some people dislike them so you may need to explore what suits each young person best.