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Task Analysis: Teaching Daily Living Skills

Updated: May 7, 2021

For most of us, routines are a natural part of our life. They involve daily living skills such as getting dressed, taking a shower or bath, eating breakfast, and washing hands, to name just a few. Having the skills to perform daily routines is critical if we are to live independently and thrive as individuals.

Many parents express concern that their children with autism do not have the necessary daily living skills to live independently and are concerned for their future. For that reason, these skills are typically an important component in treatment programs.

A task analysis is a teaching method that is widely used in ABA to teach living skills or self-help skills. Why use a task analysis? Task analyses is effective because it breaks routines down into a sequence of small steps or instructions. For example, all children need to learn to wash their hands. A task analysis breaks that routine down into teachable steps that can be learned individually until the whole routine is completed independently. You can use this method to teach virtually any routine; it is a powerful teaching method!

A task analysis can be developed using words, pictures, or a combination of both; making it easily individualized for your child’s needs.

Here is an example of a task analysis for washing hands:

1. Turn on the cold water

2. Put hands under the water

3. Put soap on hands

4. Rub hands together

5. Wash soap off hands

6. Turn the water off

7. Dry hands on towel

Here are a few tips when preparing a task analysis:

When using pictures, use a thick paper such as tagboard, laminate the pictures and attach with Velcro

When using words, make the steps simple and the words in big enough font to read at a short distance

Want to learn more about task analysis and other effective procedures to teach your child new skills and positive behavior? Visit, become a member and gain access to our parent training series, Parent-Led Autism Intervention (PLAI) when you purchase a membership.

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