Structured tasks

Students with autism benefit from visual structure when completing new and familiar tasks. Verbal instructions are difficult for an individual with autism to process and retain as language is transient, whereas visual structure is non-transient, will increase clarity of the task and removes the need for the student to process verbal language. Importantly, it also increases independence and generalisation skills.

Aims of structured tasks

  1. To remove/reduce the need for verbal instruction
  2. To provide visual clarification of what is to be done
  3. To show when a task is complete
  4. To increase independence
  5. To increase participation
  6. To reduce anxiety
  7. To teach target skills and
  8. To help with generalisation

Structured tasks should not be limited to the independent work desk or to one-to-one teaching times; structure should be extended to all daily activities in all settings.

Examples of structured tasks

  1. Academic Tasks – A structured task for counting


Photo – TEACCH Autism Programme

  1. Structured reading task


Photo – TEACCH Autism Programme

  1. Personal care task



Photo -MCA



  1. Life skill tasks

Structured task for sorting socks


Photo – TEACCH Autism Programme

Structured task for sharpening pencil


Photo- TEACCH Autism Programme

Making a drink


Photo – TEACCH Autism Programme

Making Angel delight for a snack


  1. Leisure/play activities

Structured play activity – Beetle Drive

First steps in learning how to play in a Beetle Drive


Photo – TEACCH Autism Programme

Structured Treasure Hunt activity – student searching for coloured objects



Structured Treasure Hunt activity for an older student


Structured activity for a construction toy



Visual instructions for table top game


  1. Community outing

A timetable which provides predictability of the sequence of events for a student as part of a community outing to an indoor Trampoline Park

task2 task1

Photo – MCA