Skills-Based Routine

For this type of routine we have a definite skill we are trying to teach. For instance, the skill of dressing means you must dress in a certain order or you might end up with your socks on the outside your shoes. There is a very definite skill set that must be learned in order to drive a car. Having said this, we should always try to infuse as much language, and real life experiences into our routines as we can. Taking into account our student’s likes and dislikes should be a big part of the process too.

student cooking pancakes on stovetop
A student cooks pancakes as his teacher observes.

Things to consider when building skills based routines:

    • Infuse as much communication as possible.
    • Embed choices so students have control over the routine.
    • Consider your students’ likes and dislikes – i.e. if they don’t like to brush teeth, what else can be included that they do like in the broader context of a grooming routine?
    • Consider your likes and dislikes.
    • Make it fun for everyone involved!
    • Make it functional!
    • Does this routine move your student closer to being independent? 

Video Examples: Skills-Based Routines

Ray Bakes Cookies

During this routine, Ray and his teacher, Chris Montgomery, use the platform of “baking cookies” to infuse the larger topics of language, concepts development, and conversation into a fun activity. This is a good example of a multistep, sequenced, routine – notice the use of the sequence box for putting the items for the routine in their specific order. This allows for our clear beginning, middle, end, as well as for labeling each item (or step) within the routine.

As you may notice, the skill of baking is secondary to teaching communication, and having fun while doing it.

Other things to look for: Notice the techniques being used for auditory training, hand-under-hand/tactile communication, and how Ray and his teacher are positioned so that they can interact with the baking items, and also each other. 

Matt Teaches Nick a Grooming Routine

In this video you will see Nick practicing a grooming routine. Nick’s goals are not just to learn to file his nails, and brush his hair, but the concept of “By yourself” is a huge part of this routine. 

Chris Teaches Ray a Grooming Routine

In this video, Chris teaches a grooming routine to Ray, a student who is deafblind.