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.

Therapists and families develop a repertoire of activities that they use based out of what is commercially available, their own personal items / hobbies and what they make up to suit an individuals learning needs. But what happens when there is nothing? When there are significant gaps across different industries? There are differences across the construction toys in the building block ranges which lock together. Who do they suit best? Why? Compare the difference between Lego versus Mega Bloks versus the non familiar brand names. What does the plastic feel like? Is it right for you? A technical pathway through building with tasks like Lego requires adaption of the entire product line. Collecting pieces and making individual kits and kits for groups or siblings to play together can enable substantially longer play and provide a task type that can last as a personal interest from childhood into teenage years and on into adulthood. The detail is in how tasks get linked together and how blocks get linked together with knowledge from everyday life to cover all areas of an individuals knowledge to support personal exploration rather than dependence on instructional materials. The sequence of steps can be predicted or predetermined based on the needs of individuals or groups and information can be presented at different time periods to lead attention to particular pieces of information. The new Nintendo Lego allows for longer role play because of the way pathways have been linked together.  Different industries have awareness of what changes are required.

Items that were previously available for purchase may now not be an option.