Task Design

Excess packaging, design and marketing materials can all impact on the ability for an individual to work through a task from its start to finish. Unfortunately though, tasks don’t always have the same starting point and the same end point. For some tasks, simply tidying them up is enough for students. Whilst for other tasks, every single step is part of the joy of being involved in exploring. Its time for bed is often met with being ignored. Yet did you know that some games don’t allow you to immediately save your work. Imagine having created something so incredibly complex in the sequence of steps that you have managed to problem solve through for the past hour working through independently without anyones help, yet your parent says its time to stop. Is it your fault that the game isn’t designed to allow you to save your work? Is it your fault that the game that you ‘are’ able to work your way through so independently as compared to your school work doesn’t allow you to save your work? Yes it is your fault. Because you as an individual don’t have a pause button on the game, maybe you do maybe you don’t. The details that you’ve been focusing on are so very complex and so very time dependent that you miss what is happening around you because the sequences of steps in ‘these’ tasks make sense to you. The ones in other things don’t. Yet you are the one with attentional difficulties. Yet you are the one who struggles to regulate yourself when its time to pack up. Yet the game is the one that doesn’t let you save easily. Yet the game is designed to have you play for extended periods of time without a break because that’s how you sell games, you want individuals to log hours and hours and hours of gaming time. Because that’s the characteristic of a good game marketwise.  So who is at fault.

This is the job of an Occupational Therapist. To pull apart all of these details and look at where we can provide support and ‘what’ we can change. Knowing how to find alternatives or when to work with the services to alter what is being made can help adjust expectations of what is a good task or bad task or what is a regulated individual or an unregulated individual. What is the difference for individuals coming to therapy sessions where they do not need regulatory assistance: the tasks are designed successfully for their individual needs.

E.g. Flash drawing tool commissioned in 2010 for use on Theracrew website drawing games. The drawing tool was adapted to use variation in thickness to show speed when drawing, in an effort to make the strokes being made on the page look like the physical effort when using a Texta or marker on paper. Kids often found it difficult to know how to use the mouse within a confined space on the computer screen, having visual feedback of the speed of their movements when exerting pressure through sustained mouse click helped.


E.g. Draw-a-Tale workbook activities created prior to 2007 can be linked with Lego activities to support an understanding of how to link ideas together for more complex play.