Breaking tasks down into steps….

Exercise 1:

So how did you do with the exercise?

Break the following tasks down into their separate steps:

1. Follow a verbal command

The student has to:

a. Hear the command or see, or be alerted to, the teacher speaking

b. Understand the command is meant for them

c. Understand what the command is asking them to do

d. Know what they have to do to respond to the command

A blue character wearing a blue top and yellow dress is looking confused. There is a question mark over their head.

2. Move from one room to another

The student has to:

a. hear/ see or be aware of your instruction to move

b. understand your instruction to move

c. understand that is meant for them

d. understand where they are expected to go

e. Get up or move away from their desk

e. move out of the classroom avoiding any obstacles, such as chairs, bags and desks

f. move out of the classroom ignoring any distractions, such as other kids, people walking past

g. remember where they have to go

h. remember how to get to where they have to go

i. Travel to the place avoiding any obstacles, including other pupils

j. Travel to the place ignoring any distractions

k. enter the new classroom

A blue character in a wheelchair is looking confused, with question and exclamation marks hovering over his head.

3. Reading information from the board

The student has to:

a. Be able to see the board

b. Be able to see what is written on it

c. Understand/ interpret the writing or the images shown

4. Writing something down

The student has to:

a. Understand the instruction

b. Understand the instruction is for them

c. Understand what they have to write down

d. Be able to see or hear what they need to write down

A blue character is standing with a confused look on his face.

Next steps

You can see that once you stop to think about it, any action you take is actually made up of a number of steps. The more you do this exercise, the easier it will become. Try it for all the tasks you do today such as making a meal, or playing a game or perhaps meeting someone.

Now we have considered the steps involved in doing a task, we have to think about where the challenges are in completing tasks.

There can be many stages and many opportunities to get it wrong. 

Ask yourself what are you asking someone to do? What are the opportunities for getting into difficulty?

Now it is time to take another look at the table we saw in the introduction:

In the earlier section, ‘what is disability’ we showed you a table that broke down disability and specific needs into different categories: physical, developmental, behavioural and sensory. We discussed what issues people can face when they have challenges in these areas. Now we can use these categories to help guide us when thinking about what issues someone might have when completing a specific task.

Below we have completed the table whilst thinking about our first example from the previous page – asking a student to move to the front of the classroom. You’ll remember that we broke that task down into 8 stages:

The table below shows what potential issues a student may face at each stage:

DisabilityMoving to the front of the classroomPotential Issues
Physical
Impacting: 
Mobility
Dexterity
Stamina
Fatigue
A pupil may not be able to move their body easily.
A pupil may need crutches, sticks or a chair and it may be difficult to manoeuvre with them.
A child may get over-exerted or tired easily. 
It might be difficult to navigate the classroom due to bags and chairs in the way, and items such as paper on the floor.
Developmental
Impacting:
Understanding 
Learning
Memory
Social interactions
The pupil might not be able to understand or process what is being asked of them.
They might forget why they have to walk to the front of the class e.g. to put a notebook on the table.
They might be distracted by classmates on the way and go to talk to them.
Behavioural/emotional
Impacting: 
Mental health
Social interactions
Behaviour 
Stress and anxiety levels
Students might be embarrassed about being singled out.
Student might be distracted by the environment (including pupils, displays and noises) and react to that instead of original task. 
Student might become stressed about standing/speaking in front of the class.
Sensory impaired
Impacting: 
Vision
Hearing
Touch
Taste
Smell
Hearing and sight impaired pupils might not have heard your instruction and might not realise you are talking to them.

Sight impaired individuals might not be able to navigate short journey to the front of the room without bumping into desks or tripping over items. 

Student might be overly distracted by the smells, noise or visual interruptions and react to those instead of completing original task. 

You can see that we can do this as a general exercise, or as a simple exercise to help a single student.

Finding the solutions

Now we add a third column that shows the actions we can take that would allow a student with specific needs to complete the task we ask them to do. Below the table shows the solutions to the issues we identified above for moving to the front of the class:

DisabilityMoving to the front of the class – Potential IssuesWhat can I do to include and support this student?
Physical
Impacting: 
Mobility
Dexterity
Stamina
Fatigue
-A pupil may not be able to move their body easily.
-A pupil may need crutches, sticks or a chair and it may be difficult to manoeuvre with them.
-A child may get over-exerted or tired easily. 
-It might be difficult to navigate the classroom due to bags and chairs in the way, and items such as paper on the floor.
Consider: Does the person need to move at all? Can I rearrange the class to benefit them? 
Is there time in the day for the pupil to rest?

Actions: Keep a wide, clear aisle from back to front of classroom at all times. Ensure pupils understand it needs to be kept free of debris. 
Developmental
Impacting:
Understanding 
Learning
Memory
Social interactions
-The pupil might not be able to understand or process what is being asked of them.
-They might forget why they have to walk to the front of the class e.g. to put a notebook on the table.
– They might be distracted by classmates on the way and go to talk to them.
Consider: Can I break the instruction down into shorter segments?


Actions: Reinforce the instruction after one part has been completed. E.g. ‘Thank you for bringing the notebook to the front, now please put it on the table’. 
Provide a reward for staying focussed, such as team points or a merit mark.
Behavioural/emotional
Impacting: 
Mental health
Social interactions
Behaviour 
Stress and anxiety levels
-Students might be embarrassed about being singled out.
-Student might be distracted by the environment (including pupils, displays and noises) and react to that instead of original task. 
-Student might become stressed about standing/speaking in front of the class.
Consider: Is it necessary for that student to come to the front? 
Can I ask two students to come to the front at the same time?
How else can I involve this pupil or check their engagement?

Action: Provide a reward for staying focussed, such as team points or a merit mark.
Sensory impaired
Impacting: 
Vision
Hearing
Touch
Taste
Smell
-Hearing and sight impaired pupils might not have heard your instruction and might not realise you are talking to them.

-Sight impaired individuals might not be able to navigate short journey to the front of the room without bumping into desks or tripping over items. 

-Student might be overly distracted by the smells, noise or visual interruptions and react to those instead of completing original task. 
Actions: Check I have pupil’s attention before giving instruction.
-Ask them to reinforce the instruction by repeating it back to me. 
-Keep a wide, clear aisle from back to front of classroom at all times.
-Ensure pupils understand it needs to be kept free of debris. 
– Provide a reward for staying focussed, such as team points or a merit mark.

Exercise 2

Below is a blank version of the WCA Framework to download and fill in:

Complete the Framework for each of the scenarios we have looked at:

  1. following verbal instructions
  2. moving from one room to another
  3. reading information from the board
  4. writing something down

When you are ready, move on. You will find the worked examples for the scenarios above following this lesson.

Key learning points: 

~ ‘Simple’ tasks are in fact very complex 

~ All tasks that a pupil is required to do requires a combination of the following attributes to be successful:

  • Physical
  • Developmental
  • Behavioural/emotional
  • Sensory 

~ If there is an impairment or specific need in any one of these areas then the task may be challenging for the pupil to complete.

Discussion points:

~ In the table above, can you think of additional issues that might arise? 

A blue character is standing with his hand on his hip, and his other hand pointing his finger as though explaining something. He is wearing glasses and a blue jumper with a red shirt underneath - very teacher like.
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