Breaking down instructions into smaller and manageable tasks is a method used in managing children with special needs. This can improve the following: social skills, behavior, memory, communication and language skills, relationship building, motor skills, independence, and creativity.
The goal is not to overwhelm the child but rather to present the information in manageable pieces.
When they are given small, manageable tasks, it makes them feel capable and successful, which helps build their self-esteem and confidence.
Additionally, breaking instructions into small chunks also allows for natural feedback for the adult/teacher as well since we can gauge how successful each step of instruction was.
Benefits of Breaking Down Instructions into Smaller and Manageable Tasks to teach children with special needs
When you know how to break down instructions into smaller and manageable tasks, it makes teaching children with special needs easier.
Having goals for a child’s learning is important. But sometimes the task itself can be overwhelming, especially for children with special needs.
By breaking down the instructions into smaller steps, you are giving them the steps they need to take in order to reach their goal. This is an important part of having a successful education program.
Benefits of Breaking Down Instructions:
- Choosing small tasks creates less frustration for the child AND their teacher/parent/tutor/etc.
- Breaking down instructions gives children who have trouble focusing the ability to focus on one step at a time.
- It helps children with special needs remember what they are supposed to do next, even if they don’t remember all of their task at once, or if they need a break before continuing.
- Breaking down instructions makes it easier for parents and teachers to help the child get back on track if they forget or need a break.
- Children with special needs benefit from giving praise when they accomplish small tasks.
- While it may take more time at first, it helps children have more success overall and sets them up for future learning.
Example for teaching a child to make an animal out of clay by hand: Don’t say just “make an elephant” say “what makes an elephant an elephant?” (the trunk), then “what part can you pinch together?” (the bottom of the trunk), then “what does an elephant eat?” (a carrot), etc etc., try and make it fun.
A teacher I talked to recently told me that this teaching method is called the “broken record” method and it gets kids to memorize the information faster. With a distracted child, they may repeat the same thing up to twenty times. Not only will they get it but when presented with other information, they remember things better than other kids who are taught at their level. The reason for this is that not only do you get the material in their brain faster but it has a better chance of sticking for life.
As you can see, consistency will go a long way in helping your child reach his/her full potential. The trick to making consistency a regular part of your routine is effectively breaking down the process into manageable tasks. By managing smaller steps and rewarding your child for completing them, your efforts toward helping him/her overcome their limitations will be more successful than if you jump in with a massive overhaul. With a little love and patience, you can help your children flourish despite their special needs!