A Task Analysis: The Observation of a Child – Psychology Essay
Participating in an Activity:
This is an observation and analysis of “Chloe Lynn” (the writer changed the student’s name for privacy purposes), a three year old girl who was being assisted in the learning
task of toileting. The steps for toileting are provided for all children through visual aids, posters that provide both verbal and visual depictions of what is expected. These steps include the following:
• pull down pants
• sit on the toilet
• wipe with toilet paper
• pull up pants
• flush toilet
• wash hands
These steps require specific gross and fine motor activities, including independent dressing (pulling down pants, pulling up pants), personal hygiene (wiping after toileting and hand washing) and directed actions (flushing the toilet).
At the time of the learning activity, “Chloe Lynn” was still wearing pull-up diapers, and staff determined the need to initiate “potty training.” After breakfast, subsequent bath-rooming resulted in the removal of Chloe Lynn’s pull-ups and a request for her to toilet without the use of pull-ups. Chloe Lynn was assisted in the removal of her pull-ups and asked to sit on the toilet.
Staff left the child on the toilet to throw away the pull-ups and Chloe Lynn was standing, not sitting, and had urinated on her clothing. Chloe Lynn was also unable to move from one task on the toilet to another, even though visual aids were present in the bathroom outlining the steps for toileting. Chloe Lynn was then reminded of the steps for toileting outlined above.
One strategy that staff put into place to help Chloe Lynn succeed in the toileting learning activity was to write and illustrate the toileting sequence on flash cards and work with her outside the bathroom setting to relate the sequence of the learning task without the pressure of performance. Staff also utilized the flash cards in the bathroom to direct Chloe Lynn in the initiation of toileting and the proper sequence of activities as she performed each task.
In order to help Chloe Lynn with the performance of the toileting task, the staff also recognized the need for consistency between school and home, and so a set of flash cards was created so that Chloe Lynn’s parents could use these at home. Contact was made with Chloe Lynn’s parents in order to determine whether parental support could be secured, and Chloe Lynn’s parents demonstrated a willingness to support this method for toilet training.
Though still too early to determine whether the strategies implemented are successful, there are some elements that can be assessed in determining progress made for Chloe Lynn. First, independent initiation of toileting is one determinant that initial efforts are working. If Chloe Lynn determines when she needs to use the bathroom and uses it at that time, this is a first step. Second, if Chloe Lynn, upon request, can initiate the first step in the sequence of toileting, as represented by visual tools and verbal direction, gains are being made. Finally, determining whether Chloe Lynn can transition from one step in the task to another is an additional method for measuring success in this task.
One possible strategy that can be used for Chloe Lynn is the reducing of distractions in the bathroom, including reducing the presence of other children in the bathroom, as a means of directing focus towards visual aids and verbal directions. In doing this, it may be necessary to
appoint specific staff for Chloe Lynn’s bath-rooming so that she can use the bathroom at a time when other children would not be in there (as they generally are after breakfast). In the end, the success in this learning activity is directly related to total task completion: Can Chloe Lynn enter the bathroom, pull down her pants, sit and use the toilet, wipe herself, pull up her pants, flush the toilet and wash her hands. This objective of total task completion, then, can be assessed through a measurement of the completion of each of the steps.
In summary, I would ad that Chloe Lynn did not appear to be phased by my observing her. I do know that children act differently and their behaviors are modified when strangers are present. I spoke with the staff members about this and they stated that Chloe Lynn’s actions and behaviors were not altered in any way by my presence. She is always precocious and unwilling to complete toilet training. She knows how to use the toilet but refuses to do so according to the staff. In my observation of Chloe Lynn, she did not care whether she used the toilet or her pants, or the floor. She just seemed uninterested in completing this task for now. I believe that when children are ready they will move to the task at hand such as toilet training. I do not believe in bullying or threatening them to try to get them to complete toilet training. Simply, when they are ready they will do it.