Date of Award

Summer 7-30-2021

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Ximena Suarez-Sousa


Key Words: structured work task systems, Autism Spectrum Disorders, generalized skill, student independence, work task visuals



Fostering student independence is a common theme in special education classrooms across the United States, and risen to the forefront of Autism programming with curriculum development and program structure in recent years. Educators use a variety of tools such as visual schedules, predictable routines and structured work task systems. Structured work task systems provide a predictable pattern or schedule that students can use either independently or with assistance from an adult to complete work tasks throughout their school day. These structured work task systems may vary in appearance from student to student, classroom to classroom, and school to school depending on the unique needs of the child using them. The study author posed the question, “Does consistent implementation of a structured work task system in a small group, special education environment lead to greater student independence in the large group, general education environment?”

For the purpose of this study, the study author chose to focus solely on the use of structured work task systems in the daily routine of Kindergarten and first grade students who had been identified as having an Autism Spectrum Disorder. The intervention, the structured work task system, was consistently implemented (taught) in the small group, special education setting and was then brought into the large group, general education setting, to be implemented in hopes of generalizing student independence across school settings. The data collection methodology was designed to be objective in nature in that all data collected was strictly observable. The study results demonstrate that participants exhibited a slight decrease in the number of verbal prompts needed in the new environment by the conclusion of the study. In regard to visual prompts, both study participants demonstrated some degree of inconsistency as the number of visual prompts varied greatly.



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