Thursday, October 02, 2014

TEACCHing Structured Work Systems

"What do you do with your students all day?"

Structured Work Systems are based on TEACCH values that suggest through evidence that teaching through a visually organized system promotes understanding and clarity for individuals with Autism.


The Work Space is...


  • Free(ish) of distractions
  • Each student has a deskspace but are close together for staff to roll freely between students when decreasing proximity for independent work
  • Choice Boards are attached to each desk for in between work trials
  • First/Then Boards are attached to each desk for students who require redirecting to task
  • "Working for" items are enclosed in buckets under each desk
  • Student's IEP goals are displayed on the wall for staff reference, supply staff, curious population etc.

Individual Work Stations
Work Station Setup
Use page protectors & white board markers for easy updating of goals WHEN mastered!

You wouldn't use just ONE type of schedule in your classroom, which is why I don't use just ONE type of work system. Changing it up will increase flexibility and expose your students to different ways of thinking, allowing skills to be generalized across different environments.

My 3 Work Systems

1. Baskets



  • 1, 2, Done.
  • Teaches left to right organization
  • Clear and predictable sequence
  • Minimizes needs for verbal instructions/adult prompting once taught
  • Activities are pre-arranged (i.e. no boxes or containers to open - I put all materials into clear ziploc bags to keep pieces together)
  • Location for finished materials
  • Close Ended Tasks: The student can clearly see when they are finished (baskets are empty)
  • Once finished, students get a 1-2 minute choice activity at their desk before repeating
  • Data for each activity is included in the activity bag
    *Data Post Coming Soon!*
2. Independent Activity Schedule (IAS)


Student IAS Schedule
  • Staff dictate how many/little tasks to complete
  • Symbols on schedule correspond with task boxes on shelf
  • Lower students work left to right with task boxes in front of them
  • Higher students hone independence by obtaining task bin from the shelf, completing, then putting away when finished
  • Minimizes needs for verbal instructions/adult prompting by using MASTERED TASKS
  • Activities are pre-arranged (i.e. no boxes or containers to open - I put all materials into clear ziploc bags to keep pieces together)
  • Central location for task bins
  • Close Ended & Open Ended Tasks: Such as fine motor beading, the students may work for a staff determined amount of time on each bin before being finished
  • Task Boxes practise mastered skills in: Literacy, Math, Fine Motor & Life Skills

IAS Bins

3. To Do/Done
  • Staff dictate items to be finished in "To Do" column
  • Students complete tasks and move finished PCS to the 'finished' column
  • Working up to down
  • No 'finished' pocket = No loose PCS! I like this for travelling around the school or in the Gym

Phys. Ed. To Do/Done Folder
Life Skills To Do/Done Board

For more on Structured Work Systems and their benefits, check out this article by Autism Outreach.


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