Autism Q&A: Using a Task Analysis for Instruction

This practice brief offers considerations and step-by-step instructions for planning and executing task analyses for teaching new skills to students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
Virginia Commonwealth University, Autism Center for Excellence
Publication Year
Resource Type
Professional Development
Number of Pages

Autism Q&A: Using a Task Analysis for Instruction provides guidance and tips for creating a task analyses for instructional programs serving students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Students with autism often need complex skills broken into small, learnable steps; a task analysis is a strategy for meeting those needs in a consistent and individualized manner. For students with autism, a task analysis is one of the most valuable strategies in the educator’s tool box. This practice brief offers the rationale for using task analysis in instruction and provides practical step-by-step directions for conducting a task analysis and using the analysis to provide effective instruction for students with ASD.  Lastly, the authors offer a brief rationale for using task analysis as a means to collect data and demonstrate learner proficiency.

What the experts say

Task analysis is an uncomplicated procedure that is important to both planning instruction and monitoring student progress. This practice guide is a useful 'how-to' resource for educators, curriculum developers, and community-based partners working with persons on the autism spectrum. It offers considerations and step-by-step instructions for planning and executing task analyses, for use in the classroom or on a work site. Those new to working with persons on the autism spectrum, or performing task analysis to prepare for instructing these learners, will find it helpful.

The authors limit the use of task analysis to observable behaviors despite its relevance for cognitive procedures as well; they also indicate that it is used in relation to behaviorally-based instruction, although it can be utilized more broadly. Although the explanations and examples are tied to adult learners with autism, it should readily generalize to any adult learner population.

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