The importance of pre-vocational planning and opportunity is ever growing, yet when and where to begin can be so overwhelming for both educators and parents! Task boxes are a great way to introduce as well as develop a wide range of hands-on life and vocational activities for a range of diverse learners.
Task boxes are compartments that contain material for a certain activity. The activities are typically short and structured and they offer a nice blend of familiarity and challenge. Any activity that fits in the compartment may be used as part of the young adult’s curriculum both at school and home as well as in a therapy session such as OT, PT and Speech. Task boxes offer much more than organization for the young adult working on the activity:
- Activities address various skills.
- They encourage independence, as the young adult takes the task out of the box, completes it, and puts it away with minimal or no guidance.
- They serve as excellent sequencing activities.
- The boxes are visual, and the single-unit presentation is easy to understand.
- They break down activities into small steps, which is an important aspect of applied behavioral analysis (ABA).
To create a task box you need to first gather a limited number of materials (10-20) related to the activity as well as a compartment with lid large enough to store materials.
Next you will need tocreate a visual guide showing each step of the task in the compartment. This allows the young adult to visually see each step of the variety of task boxes and encourages independence when working.
After the materials have been placed in the compartment, adhere the steps to the lid, number the box and add it to your task box area for future practice and success with a wide range of skills!
Below are some examples of task box ideas broken down by Module, adapted from the I Can Work! Program.
Clerical: Folding paper in thirds, Addressing envelopes, Filing by numbers or words
Retail: Folding t-shirts, Pairing and Sizing shoes, Buttoning Shirt
Food Service: Folding napkins, Setting a table, Assembly of place settings
Grocery: Sorting hard and soft groceries, Stocking shelves
By creating task boxes that apply to life utilizing vocational materials, young adults are building a stronger foundation and confidence for future success!