Matching Work Systems

  • Situation

    I have a very disorganized student who has trouble completing work on his own. He is always asking me what he needs to do and needs a lot of help to complete his activities. How can I help him work without so much help?

  • Summary

    A work system helps students understand what work they need to complete.

  • Definition

    A work system gives a student a systematic way to approach a series of tasks or an activity. It enables the student to understand what is expected of him/her.

  • Quick Facts

    • Child's Age: 3-5, 6-10, 11-13, 14-17, 18+
    • Planning Effort: Low
    • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Pre-requisites

    Ability to match pictures or symbols

  • Process

    1. Make two sets of cards for the student to match. One set will be used to label work bins and one set will be used on the student’s desk. If possible, use a motivation or something the child is interested in (NASCAR, SpongeBob Square Pants, animals etc.)
    2. In the area where the student is working, set up bins or containers to put the work in on the left side of the student.
    3. Label each bin with one of the cards.
    4. Put the matching card on the student’s desk.
    5. Put a box or other bin to the right of the student’s desk to place completed work in.
    6. Teach the student the work system.
    7. Demonstrate taking a card from the desk and matching to the corresponding bin.
    8. Once the work is completed, the student places the work and bin in the finished bin
  • Documents and Related Resources

     “I Can Do It Myself!” (link to article “I Can Do It Myself!” Using Worksystems to Build Independence in Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder)


    Sample Work Systems  (Powerpoint)


    Work Station (image)


    Setting up a Structured Classroom  (Link to The Watson Institute Teacher Resources)


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