Task Analysis in Pediatric ABA Therapy

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is an ever-expanding field of study of behavior and how environments impact behavior. ABA therapy can be a life-changing method of treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), because this method focuses on the importance of the function of behavior as a part of creating positive behaviors. The goal of ABA therapy is providing children with autism with communication, play, social skills, and many more. One way to achieve these goals is through task analysis.

What is task analysis?
Task analysis can be customized for each individual child, as every child has a unique way of learning and processing information. This means evaluating every detail of how a child completes a task in order to achieve a goal. To illustrate a task analysis of washing your hands at school:

Step 1: Reach out your hand to turn on the warm water in the sink using the handle

Step 2: Run your hands under the warm water for five seconds

Step 3: Remove your hands from the water

Step 4: Hold one hand under the soap dispenser

Step 5: Press down on the soap dispenser with your other hand until soap comes out (onto the other hand)

Step 6: Start to rub your hands together

Step 7: Begin singing the Happy Birthday song in your head (or aloud)

Step 8: Stop rubbing your hands once you have finished the song

Step 9: Rinse your hands under the warm water until the soap is gone

Step 10: Dry your hands with a paper towel

Step 11: Turn off the faucet with the paper towel

Step 12: Throw out the paper towel

While this may seem like a lot of steps for a simple task, breaking a task into many small pieces can help children with autism who may have difficulty with more complex, multi-step tasks.

Task Analysis in ABA therapy
ABA therapy can be extremely successful for children with autism spectrum disorder, and as part of ABA therapy, an ABA therapist might incorporate task analysis. Going back to the example of hand washing, the order of these steps may appear very straightforward. However, a child on the spectrum may not find them to be as intuitive and have difficulty completing this multi-step task. An ABA therapist might work on building this skill with a child by providing a visual support that illustrates each of the steps. Using a visual tool can help to make these daily tasks more concrete and approachable for children with autism, alleviating some stress of complex tasks.

Questions about task analysis or ABA in Chicago?
Are you interested in ABA services for your child in the Chicago area? Contact us or call (773) 630-4400 to learn more about the range of services we provide for children who are on the autism spectrum at Chicago ABA Therapy, including applied behavior analysis therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology.

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Task Analysis