What is Task Analysis in Teaching?

What is Task Analysis?

Task analysis in teaching means the process of breaking down a skill into smaller, more manageable components. It's a great way to teach students in special education (especially with Autism Syndrome Disorder) a skill that may be too challenging to teach all at once.

When Should I Use Task Analysis in Special Education?

A lot of people tend to get mixed up between Discrete Trial Training (DTT) and task analysis. They can be similar but there are some major differences between DTT and task Analysis. (LINK the blog Kristina wrote that compares them) I typically like to use more of a task analysis for teaching certain life skills to my students that may be overwhelming. I use DTT as more of an Applied Behavior Analysis Approach.

Why is Task Analysis Important?

Using task analysis in teaching is important because it allows opportunities to teach our students a more challenging skill. The more challenging and functional skills that they can do, the more independent they can be! This is why using a task analysis approach in teaching is so important in special education!

brushing your teeth is an example of a task analysis
You can use the task of brushing your teeth as a task analysis

What are Some Examples of Task Analysis?

A great example of a task analysis in teaching would be breaking down a life skill that some of our kids may find more difficult, such as brushing their teeth, washing hands or making a sandwich into smaller steps.

For example, when teaching students to brush their teeth, you teach them that it is an 11 step process:

  1. Get out toothbrush.
  2. Get out toothpaste.
  3. Open toothpaste lid.
  4. Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste on toothbrush.
  5. Brush your top teeth while counting in your head to 30.
  6. Brush your bottom teeth while counting in your head to 30.
  7. Spit out toothpaste into sink.
  8. Rinse toothbrush under running water.
  9. Rinse your mouth with a cup of water.
  10. Wipe your mouth with a towel.
  11. Put toothbrush and toothpaste away.

I would have these steps typed up on a sheet of paper for them to follow while in the bathroom (with visuals also). For some students, you may even want them to check off each step as they complete it to make sure that they don't miss anything. The more that they repeat this routine process, the more natural and less challenging the skill becomes for them. I hope this helps you better understand what a task analysis is.


I am a High School, self-contained Autism teacher from Central New York, who is passionate about individualizing student learning. I am a mommy of three, lover of all things Disney, married to my best friend and addicted to chocolate!! I hope that you find great ideas and inspiration here, so welcome!!

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