Planning, Organising, Problem Solving, Decision Making and Self Monitoring Difficulties

May have problems planning.

 

  1. Help to prepare before starting a task or entering a situation.  What will happen, expectations, rules, what to do and what not to do.

  2. Think out loud when planning, decision making, problem solving etc.

  3. Role play situations to help prepare.

  4. Use written instructions.

  5. Use visual schedules to break tasks down into smaller steps.

  6. Use lists to prioritise tasks.

 

May take a long time to start tasks.

 

  1. Use written instructions.

  2. Break down tasks and set timings for each item.

  3. Help by prompting if needed.

 

May struggle to judge how much time something should take.

 

  1. Break down tasks and set timings for each item.

  2. If you think it may take 30 mins to complete a task, schedule in an extra 15 mins.

  3. Use timers/bell/alarm to indicate when each part of a task should be complete.

 

May find it difficult to set goals or know where to start on a task.

 

  1. Help to prepare before starting a task. 

  2. Use written instructions.

  3. Use visual schedules to break tasks down into smaller steps.

  4. Help by prompting if needed.

 

May have problems starting tasks independently or coming up with their own ideas.

 

  1. Help to prepare before starting a task.

  2. Use written instructions.

  3. Use visual schedules to break tasks down into smaller steps.

  4. Build independence through practise of tasks.

  5. Allow extra time for tasks if appropriate.

  6. Help by prompting if needed.

 

May have no concept of time.

 

  1. Break down tasks and set timings for each item.

  2. Set time limits with timers.

  3. Use timers/bell/alarm to indicate when a task is over.

  4. Use ‘Now’ and ‘Next’ to help stay on task.

  5. Allow extra time for tasks if appropriate.

  6. Use lists to prioritise tasks.

 

May struggle to keep track of time.

 

  1. Break down tasks and set timings for each item.

  2. Use timers/bell/alarm to indicate when a task is over.

  3. Use visual cues and schedules to help them stay on task.

  4. Use ‘Now’ and ‘Next’ to help stay on task.

  5. Allow extra time for tasks if appropriate.

 

May struggle to prioritise tasks and allocate adequate time for each i.e. may rush.

 

  1. Use visual schedules to break tasks down into smaller steps.

  2. Colour code tasks to show priority using trays/files/post it notes.

  3. Use lists to prioritise tasks.

  4. Ensure tasks are ‘to the point’ with only necessary information given.

  5. Break down tasks and set timings for each item.

  6. Use lists to prioritise tasks.

  7. Allow extra time for tasks if appropriate.

 

May rush and finish a task messily or may take too long and run out of time.

 

  1. Break down tasks and set timings for each item.

  2. Use timers/bell/alarm to indicate when each part of a task should be complete.

  3. Use lists to prioritise tasks.

  4. Allow extra time for tasks if appropriate.

 

May have problems organising.

 

  1. Help to prepare before starting a task or entering a situation.  What will happen, expectations, rules, what to do and what not to do.

  2. Colour code tasks to show priority using trays/files/post it notes.

  3. Use lists to prioritise tasks.

 

May struggle with multi-step instructions.

 

  1. Ensure verbal instructions are short and to the point i.e. one step at a time in a sequence of steps.

  2. Use of written instructions in a checklist.

  3. One task/job at a time.

  4. Use memory aids such as schedules, now and next and task pictures.

  5. Use visual schedules to break tasks down into smaller steps.

  6. Use visual picture sequences for each step of the task.

  7. Use schedules/model steps of daily tasks, then increase the individuals participation until the steps become automatic, then they can be withdrawn.

 

May often lose their train of thought.

 

  1. Use ‘Now’ and ‘Next’ to help stay on task.

  2. Use visual schedules to break tasks down into smaller steps.

  3. Use visual picture sequences for each step of the task.

  4. Use schedules/model steps of daily tasks, then increase the individuals participation until the steps become automatic, then they can be withdrawn.

 

May struggle to reach deadlines.

 

  1. Break down tasks and set timings for each item.

  2. Allow extra time for tasks if appropriate.

  3. Colour code tasks to show priority using trays/files/post it notes.

  4. Use lists to prioritise tasks.

  

May struggle to organise materials, hand in homework, remember things they may need, delivering messages etc.

 

  1. Colour code tasks to show priority using trays/files/post it notes.

  2. Use Lists/calendars to organise work material/homework etc.

  3. Encourage writing things down i.e. phone numbers and items needed etc.

 

May either focus on detail or the bigger picture, but find it difficult to do both at the same time.

 

  1. Ensure tasks are ‘to the point’ with only necessary information given.

 

May find memorising and recalling information difficult.

 

  1. Play games that involve recall of objects this can help improve working memory.

  2. Allow them to write down information that they may need to recall.

  3. Give information, repeat and then ask for them to repeat it to check their understanding.

  4. Encourage them to ask for help if they have forgotten a task or step.

 

May struggle to recall information whilst also using it i.e. remembering a phone number whilst trying to dial.

 

  1. Encourage writing things down i.e. phone numbers and items needed etc.

  2. Slow down, give time to process information.

 

May struggle to problem solve.

 

  1. Discuss tasks/situations beforehand and talk about what problems may occur and problem solve together.

  2. Problem solve together as and when issues arise.

  3. Pause and let them think before jumping in with the answers.

  4. Practice problem solving worksheets.

  5. Play problem solving games i.e. what if?, Crosswords.

  6. When watching TV discuss problems that arise and how they could be solved.

  7. Break down problems i.e. who, what, when, where, how.

  8. Highlight situations during the day where there are more than one way of doing things.  Pause and discuss options, pick an option then evaluate whether it worked.

  9. Think out loud when planning, decision making, problem solving etc.

  10. Ask questions out loud i.e. I wonder how we can do that?  Give two options and discuss what may happen.

 

May struggle with asking for help when needed.

 

  1. Teach them to give you items that they need help with. Give them a clear container that they can’t open (with a favourite toy/snack inside).  When they struggle to open it, hold out your hand and say ‘Need help?’ and when they pass it to you open it straight away and give them the item.  Do this several times a day until it becomes a familiar routine.

  2. Place a ‘Help Chart’ near to the individual as a prompt for when they need help.  This could include strategies for different types of help.

  3. A visual support card that they can pass to someone or turn over when they need help may work well.

  4. Use Social Stories™ to explain how to ask for help in different circumstances.  This may include role play.

 

May struggle to stay on task.

 

  1. Use ‘Now’ and ‘Next’ to help stay on task.

  2. Use lists to prioritise tasks.

  3. Use visual schedules to break tasks down into smaller steps.

  4. Use timers/bell/alarm to indicate when a task is over.

  5. Use visual picture sequences for each step of the task.

  6. Use schedules/model steps of daily tasks, then increase the individuals participation until the steps become automatic, then they can be withdrawn.

 

May struggle to make decisions.

 

  1. Use Social Stories™ showing consequences to help with decision making.

  2. Discuss tasks/situations beforehand and talk about what may happen, any problems which may arise and possible outcomes.  Then make decisions based on the discussion.

  3. Highlight situations during the day where there are more than one way of doing things.  Discuss the options and pick the best one.

  4. Think out loud when planning, decision making, problem solving etc.

  5. Ask questions out loud i.e. I wonder how we can do that?  Give two options, discuss what may happen and choose the best option.

 

May struggle to predict outcomes.

 

  1. Discuss tasks/situations beforehand and talk about what may happen, any problems which may arise and possible outcomes.

  2. Ask questions out loud i.e. I wonder how we can do that?  What do you think may happen?

  

May find it difficult to analyse ideas.

 

  1. Break tasks down into steps, work out what is needed for each step, carry out the step, then evaluate.  This will need to be guided by an adult until they are able to evaluate alone.

 

May find it difficult to apply a previously learned task to a new setting or situation.

 

  1. When teaching new tasks, practice the skills in various settings.

  2. When a new skill has been learnt, discuss what has been learnt and how it may be useful in the future.

 

May find it hard to move from one activity to another, especially if there is a different task demand.

 

  1. Prepare. Explain what will happen, how long it will take, what can be expected, what is expected of them and what others will be doing.

  2. Use Visual Schedules to add structure and predictability through preparation.  This may also involve sequence strips for tasks.

  3. Break the visual schedule down further into ‘Now’ and ‘Next’.

  4. Use timers/bell/alarm to indicate when a task is over.

  5. Warn before new activities happen.  This may be with vocal warnings, timers, visuals if needed.

  6. Start transitions early so they can do this slowly and have more time to ‘shift gears’.

  7. When difficult transitions happen, give choices as this give them some control i.e. ‘It’s tidy up time, would you like me to help or would you like to do it on your own?’

  8. Explain why the change in task is important i.e. ‘We need to tidy up so we can have lunch’.  You may also focus on upcoming enjoyable tasks ‘After lunch we will be able to play etc’.

  9. If they become upset listen to them, validate their feelings and explain that you understand.

  10. Use praise when they move onto new activities calmly.  If it was a hard transition emphasise that they managed it even though it was hard and they are ok now and they can do it calmly next time.

  11. If they have difficulty with transitions, you could use a reward system when they complete the transition calmly i.e. time with a preferred object, computer time etc.

  12. Having a bag of familiar items to touch or smell may help them remain calm during changes in activities.

 

May struggle to monitor and check their own work.

 

  1. Provide visual models (picture or real object) of finished task or each step so they can reference this to match their own performance of the task.

 

Additional Support

 

  1. Slow down, give time to process information.

  2. Check understanding and ensure that the task is at the appropriate cognitive level.

  3. Ensure they take regular break/sensory breaks if needed.

SHINE for Autism

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