- Identifying the problem,
- Researching potential solutions,
- Evaluating potential solutions, and
- Reflecting on how the solution worked.
In a recent research study, problem-solving skills were taught to three children with autism, ages 9-11. To teach these skills, each student was given 15 minutes per week of one-on-one instruction from a teacher. The teacher wrote the problem-solving steps on a board and the student was given a worksheet with clip art pictures to illustrate each step:
- What's The Problem?
- How Can You Fix It?
- Why Would It Work?
Each week, to practice the steps, the teacher read the student a story. They then discussed using the steps to help identify the problems and solutions in the story. Next, the teacher and student worked on applying the steps to a problem situation each child was personally dealing with in their classroom.
The study authors reported that the students all met their criteria for problem-solving skills, but some students took longer to do so than others. The students were reported to have learned to problem-solve and they successfully achieved their self-selected goals.
I've created a free printable "My Problem-Solving Journal" that you can use with your students to practice these problem-steps. You can get the journal here: http://www.positivelyautism.com/downloads/ProblemSolvingJournal.pdf
Teaching Problem Solving Skills to Elementary Age Students with Autism
By Debra L. Cote, Vita L. Jones, Crystal Barnett, Karin Pavelek, Hoang Nguyen, et al.
Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities 49.2 (Jun 2014). Pages 189-199.
Please note that the authors of this study, nor the publishing journal, are affiliated with Positively Autism and they do not endorse Positively Autism. All opinions expressed in this blog post are those of Positively Autism and do not necessarily reflect the options of the authors or the publishers of this study.