Chaining is the teaching method where complex tasks or skills are broken down into smaller steps and taught in a consistent succession from beginning to end until the entire task or skill is completed

Chains are like cooking recipes where an individual who has no concept of cooking a type of food is showed the step-by-step process with recipes. Our children learn to complete basic tasks in the same step-by-step process.  When teaching a behavior, task or skill using chaining, you create a “Task Analysis”.


Task analysis is the process of breaking a skill, behavior, or task down into smaller and a more manageable unit. It could be in form of written task analysis, picture prompt, video modelling or self-instructions depending on the child’s learning functional level or skill’s level.


  1. You must present the steps of the task analysis to the child in an age and developmentally appropriate manner.


  1. A child who reads may have the steps written out
  2. Another child may require picture prompts to represent the steps.
  3. Yet another child may learn from a video model.


  1. You must choose the appropriate teaching method that matches the child’s temperament, learning style, what has and has not worked for the child in the past and the environments within which the child functions.


Example OF Task Analysis

 Getting dressed can be broken down for the child into ridiculously small simple steps: Shirt on, buttons, pants on, zipper, button, tuck in shirt, belt. You teach step-by-step to the child, encouraging him/her to do it independently and reinforcing each successful effort.


Whichever method that best fits the child’s learning, the steps should be efficiently and clearly presented. And you keep teaching till the child masters the skill/task or behavior. You can use this process to teach self-care, household chores, or other adaptive skills.