Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Resource for Beginning Learners: Where to start teaching those with autism

Happy World Autism Awareness Day! 
Although this is the day that the world shall hopefully be more aware, we hope that we can attain that awareness each and everyday.  Spread the word!

In looking at being more aware of autism, let's start at the first stages of learning.  Often it is difficult to know how to begin teaching skills.  Beginning learners are not always understanding the expectations of others, how to manipulate materials and when something is truly complete.  After years of working with students, we still find ourselves having having to make adjustments to activities.  It can be quite overwhelming for parents and professionals to know how to start working with an individual that doesn't yet know how to follow the directions of others or the sequence of an activity.  Disorganization, fine motor difficulties, short attention span, are a few of the roadblocks that we face. 

ShoeboxTasks® are a great resource for those working with these beginning level students.  Originally designed with actual shoe boxes, these self-contained tasks are perfect for individuals getting started.  These activities take the anxiety of knowing where to start in teaching students or your own child.  They are very sturdy and well made so they can stand the test of time.  Find out more on their website

Two of our favored tasks are:

Red Buttons Into Water

Drum Roll

These tasks are motivating activities for most of the individuals we see.  'Red Buttons into Water' is a visually fascinating/stimulating task for he/she to watch the button float to the bottom as they put each one in.  Many of the individuals we work with love water and this can be a very calming task. The 'Drum Roll' is lots of fun to watch as well as hear.  The ball spins around the oil drum with a fun whirring noise before dropping down into the hole.

In addition to offering a great resource for those starting to learn skills, the work experience for those on the spectrum is invaluable!  Individuals with autism have the chance to help in packaging and building the tasks as part of the Centering on Children, Inc.  This organization designs, manufactures and packages ShoeboxTasks® in Asheville, North Carolina.  Visit the website to find out more information and check out their videos part 1 and part 2 for great information about the tasks, work experience and how to begin teaching.



  1. Our son would LOVE the drumroll one, to watch it go in circles and hear that noise. I didn't know that they were made by adults with autism- that's very cool.

  2. Yes, it's definitely a fun one! We can't wait to follow your journey on your new, combined blog :)