Activity systems

In daily occupations, we often have lists of what we need to do in work or in household chores. We also know our daily personal care routines which need to be carried out every morning and evening e.g. have shower, brush teeth, brush hair. Individuals with autism may need a task to be presented visually to indicate what needs to be done and in what order. These are called activity systems.

Aims of an activity system

  1. Shows how much work is to be done
  2. Shows the sequence in which the task should be carried out
  3. Shows when work is complete
  4. Directs the student what to do next

Examples of activity systems include

  1. ‘Pull down’ work system
  2. Left-to-right work system
  3. Matching e.g. shape, number

Example of work-system where student matches the shape to the basket containing the task


Photo – The TEACCH Autism Programme

Numbered activity system for showering


Photo – MCA

Activity system for completing academic tasks – matching capital to lower case letters



Photo- The TEACCH Autism Programme

An Activity System for play time.


Using a written activity system with a student to teach and practice emotional regulation strategies


Photo – MCA

Read previous: ← Visual Schedules

Read next: Structured tasks →