Structured work boxes are designed to help children with a variety of disabilities (i.e., intellectual disabilities and autism) learn attention, behavioral, and independent work skills through the use of shoebox tasks. These tasks allow a student to practice working independently without parent, teacher, or Para support.
Structured work box tasks are set up at individual work stations and students with disabilities learn to work from top-bottom and left to write independently on tasks. Once a task is completed, it is placed in a finished bin and at certain intervals children are provided with a reward activity. The work box tasks can start out as very easy tasks such as putting items into a cup, and then move up to much harder skills, such as completing a worksheet, depending on the abilities of the child. Each work box task should be something that the child has learned previously (not new learning). The goal is to provide opportunities for students to learn how to pay attention, behave appropriately and finish work independently.
Once a student learns the work box system, different work box tasks can be added to their workstation. These tasks are inexpensive to create and can be used multiple times at school and at home. Teachers can have a variety of workstations in use while working with a small group of children on other tasks. Work box tasks are also a great way to have students independently work on IEP goals and provide additional drill and practice while they work on developing independent work skills.
The ability to work independently allows a child with a disability to engage in more community settings as an adult and possibly improve their employment options. At home, being able to work independently allows a child with a disability to work on something on their own, such as homework in a work box without a parent having to provide 1:1 assistance to them.
Below are examples of work box tasks completed by teachers in our program. Examples are in PDF format.